- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (March 8, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1582971730
- ISBN-13: 978-1582971735
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,241,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing
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Top Customer Reviews
In his book, Finding Your Voice, Les throws a hand grenade into the marshes of dull writing. Not only does he give you permission to be yourself when you write, he SHOUTS that you must!
Many a non-published writer constructs barriers to getting published because of an ailment he tags as a "writerly" style. Such writing, he says, stems from trying to write like someone else, or by adhering to some "acceptable standard." All this expenditure of energy and effort not only kills creativity, it drowns out the writer's own voice. It's akin to attempting to draw something via tracing. Successful and effective writing-as in drawing a picture--occurs as the artist surrenders to the freedom of instinct and free-form.
"Voice" is rooted in individuality and PERSONALITY. He points out that readers aren't looking for Hemingway when they pick up your book -- they're looking for you! If they have a hankering for Hemingway, they'll seek out Hemingway. The reader who picks up your book wants to meet you, and they will do just that as you let go and allow your personality to permeate the pages. As a result, reader and writer take off on some joint venture. The experience is far more gratifying for the reader than reading mere dead words.
His book effortlessly exemplifies the very things he espouses. For instance, far from being obscure himself, Les exudes personality-HIS PERSONALITY-on every page. He's transparently friendly, intelligent, witty and totally likable. It seems possible to reach right through the pages and shake his hand.Read more ›
Now there aren't many books dedicated solely to "voice," but there are a few that have a few chapters on it with material that is more than the equal of this book's. So here's what I'd recommend you buy instead:
Movies in the Mind, How to Build a Short Story
The New Strategy of Style
Perhaps it's because I've been a published author, hundreds of times over. Maybe it's because I never imagined myself as a recycled Hemingway, Bob Woodward, or Mark Twain; I've always written like myself. However, I found the first section awfully tedious. The author keeps knocking you over the head with the reasons to find your OWN voice rather than write like an ersatz Big Name Author. Enough already, I got the point. The reader probably doesn't need to be convinced, if she's already picked up this book.
If I'd stopped after the first third of the book (and I was tempted to, I confess), this review would have gotten only 2 or 3 stars.
Edgerton makes up for it, though, when he gets specific. Fortunately, he does so often, with plenty of examples that show how to _use_ the rules you're read in other books. For example, instead of just saying that you shouldn't talk down to the reader, he provides the intro to one of his own short stories, then rewrites it with all the backstory that a less-experienced writer would be tempted to add. It works, because even the backstory-filled excerpt doesn't completely ... I found that compare-and-contrast analysis very helpful, and you probably will, too. (He has examples from plenty of writers, with all kinds of styles. Not just his own stuff, though he's certainly a good storyteller.)
The author also includes several exercises to help you "find your voice." I didn't feel that most of the exercises were necessary, but one intrigued me: identify the weakest part of your writing (plot, dialog, description, etc.), read several examples of that writing aspect done well, then write a "report" as if you were writing a college paper.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Like so many books on writing, this seems to have started life as a Writers Digest magazine article whereupon author or agent decided if they threw in lots more words, they could... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Illuminati
In Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing, author Les Edgerton begins by blaming all the English teachers you had through elementary and secondary school for... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Rod Raglin
This isn't very helpful for finding your voice. Ironically, the voice and the style of the author is off-putting for me. (He says "homeboy" and things like that.)Published 14 months ago by Kindle Customer
I didn't enjoy this as much as his book on beginnings. It could have been a far shorter book with less sales pitches but I did get the point about finding your own voice.Published 18 months ago by J. P. Barnaby
Let me see. If you did not know the subject of a book called—Finding Your Voice—what possibilities come to mind? Perhaps, a doctor’s guide to throat surgery recovery? Read morePublished 23 months ago by Stephen W. Hiemstra ﻦ
Haven not used it enough to give a full feedback, but I do like it so farPublished 24 months ago by Elaine Bedigian
Finding one's voice for a novice writer is not easy, but Les Edgerton guides you through the process with his expert advice. Read morePublished on June 20, 2014 by Ellie
I read this book in an attempt to decipher several comments on my rhyming, one quite vicious. While the book was interesting, I am still at a loss on what 'voice' is. Read morePublished on May 31, 2014 by rks