Part 4) How Do You Hone Your Voice And Keep It Fresh?
All the old adages on how to write and develop your voice are true: Write from your experiences, write what you know, write the story you want to see. We’ve heard these all before and they are all tried and tested methods for advancing your voice.
We have seen why this advice plays such an integral role in developing your voice throughout our three previous articles on “What is a Fresh Voice and Why it Matters to Your Career”. The number one piece of advice I can add to this is to be passionate about life. Be conscious and aware of what’s in your head and your heart and what it wants to say. Be inquisitive and be observant, of people and events from the past and future. Be well-read in literature, and be well-versed in cinema. But most importantly write, write, continue to write and then rewrite.
“There’s a line in Self-Reliance, the essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, that says something to the effect of Speak what is true to you and trust that it's true for all men. I think if you do that in your writing other people will connect to it." – Mickey Fisher (Creator CBS’s EXTANT)
As writers we evolve, trends change, audiences become wise to story-telling and film-making techniques. As a screenwriter, how do you maintain a fresh voice in an ever-morphing world and keep your audience engaged?
Keeping ones voice fresh is a struggle faced by all writers throughout their career, but even more so for fledgling writers in search of original ideas.
As many in the story-telling world will tell you, and as Christopher Booker wrote in his 2004 book “7 Basic Plots”, there are only 7 story-telling formulas from which all others stem.
2014 Fresh Voices Grand Prize Winner Chris Bowen sums it up this way:
“I have always heard that there are really only a few story templates that exist. So, to me, a Fresh Voice is someone who can bring something new, exciting, unique, or personal to one of those story templates.” Chris Bowen (2014 Fresh Voices Grand Prize Winner)
From my experience working with writers, the advice for keeping your voice fresh is the same as discovering and developing your voice in the first place. Keep up with emerging trends, seek out new experiences and, above all, offer your own distinct perspective on how the world turns.
As you’re writing, it is impossible to know for sure if your voice will ultimately connect with an audience. One thing is for sure, you won’t know until you share it. So be true to yourself and what you have to say, but most importantly, Let Your Voice Be Heard!