Writing Advice from the Bookshelf: Les Edgerton on Finding (and Using) YOUR Voice
Excerpt from Finding Your Voice by Les Edgerton:
There’s a place waiting for you in Readerland. Editors are out there now, poised with checkbook in hand, hoping that today is the day they open a manuscript and a real, live person begins speaking from the page to them. A new, unique person with a voice they haven’t heard before.
The world won’t applaud a second William Faulkner, boys and girls. Especially a second-rate Faulkner . . . which is all any imitator can aspire to be. The reading audience can, however, be very receptive to the rollicking small-town tales of Jim Ray Poindexter from Bippus, Indiana. Eagerly open to the article Jim Ray delivers to Gourmet Magazine describing the cuisine delights of crawfish, delivered from the sensibilities of an observer with Jim’s values and particular background that only he can bring to the writing desk. Ecstatic over the short story Mr. Poindexter has penned about the town drunk at Bippus, Indiana’s Fourth of July Barbecue.
Mr. P. is going to get his work published if he observes the principle behind Jules Renard’s remark concerning his own struggle with the literature “masters” on his own shelves, that: “Whenever I apply myself to writing, literature comes between us.”
Jim Ray’s going to get published because he won’t let literature come between his own personality and the page. The voice he respects the most is his own. As you should.
The world wants Jim Ray Poindexter from Bippus, Indiana’s voice.
The world wants your voice. From wherever you are.
Edgerton, Les. Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 2003. 39–40. Print.
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