Welcome to Developing Your Voice in Fiction and Non-Fiction
with Lee Kofman
I cannot agree more with the American writer Al Alvarez who suggests in his book The Writer’s Voice that ‘Literature is about listening to a voice … neither the medium nor the message is the point. The point is that the voice is unlike any other voice you have ever heard and it is speaking directly to you.’
I, too, think that above all what makes a literary work truly gripping is the writer’s voice.The voice is the basic foundation of any story. If you’ve got it right, the rest of the elements, like plot and characters, are likely to come together eventually. But without the voice, nothing is going to work.
A writer’s voice is a complex concept and, to complicate matters further, once you have ‘found’ it, it doesn’t mean you’ll always ‘have’ it. Most writers, once we discover the sound of our voice, still need to keep honing it throughout our working life. With this in mind, I have designed this workshop for both fiction and creative nonfiction writers, to help you to develop your voice and/or sustain it through a series of theoretical and practical suggestions, writing examples and exercises.
This workshop comprises three modules. We’ll first unpack what a writer’s voice actually is, dividing this concept into macro and micro levels. While examining these levels separately, we’ll also be practising the sound and flow of our own voices. We’ll finish by looking at various strategies for continuing to hone our unique voices.
This course will take three to four hours to complete, and can be worked through in one sitting or in stages, at your convenience. To complete the exercises, you will need paper and a pen, or your computer. It is also recommended to use a timer for your writing exercises; the final exercise requires a timer to be fully effective.