Is it anÂ evil thing, to findÂ value in a friend’s mistake?
I’ve beenÂ struggling to develop a unique writing Â voice. Ideally,Â the narrative should seemÂ soÂ transparent thatÂ the readerÂ forgets the medium and uploads the storyÂ directly to the pages of their mind, as if living it themselves.Â While reviewingÂ a friend’s story, I found inspiration.
My friend wasÂ so coy. She’d say, “here look at this old thing” and toss you a concept, then dog you like a hound until you’d read it through and shared every scrap of meat on the bone with her.Â Turning the pages,Â I felt herÂ at my shoulder,Â laughing at her own jokes andÂ drunk withÂ cleverness. Â How irritating. I wanted to protest, “this is my experience, butt out!” That’s when IÂ tripped over the answer.
She’d written in her inner voice. In her mind, this is how she spoke to close friends, to her kids, to her self. Â Because we’re told the written voice should be unique to you, it stands to reason that it should parallel your inner voice, doesn’t it? What greater compliment could you give your readers than to talk to them as you would to your self?
How egotistical. How narcissistic.
My take away is that there’s a courteous voice you must find, as a writer.Â One that, though true to yourself, is tailored to your audience.Â A voice that leads them gently, allows them to find their own meaning and respects their ability to interpret and take from your story what they will.
Of course, now I have to puzzle out how to do that. But reading what I wrote a year ago (that terrible story was mine!) I have new perspective with which I’ll hopeÂ toÂ develop a gentler voice.