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Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing

4.2 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1582971735
ISBN-10: 1582971730
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Product Details

  • 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)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I cannot CANNOT--say enough about this book! I'm an aspiring writer who had been circling for years--forever stumbling around in the dark searching for some missing ingredient. Les Edgerton provided that ingredient.
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, let me say that I'm a pretty big fan of Les Edgarton's Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go and I was ardently hoping that this book would be just as solid and useful as the first book of his that I had read. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Finding Your Voice had 5 Chapters of stalling and padding, a few solid chapters on voice, and then another bunch of filler. Take a look at the Table of Contents and you'll see what I mean. This book wasn't worth the asking price, let alone the time to read it.

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

and

The New Strategy of Style
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
as a writing coach, i have recommended this book to everyone who sits down to write. the author uses his own authentic voice to give us permission to be ourselves. his voice is at once down-to-earth, clear, funny and enormously valuable. a book for every writer's library!
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Format: Paperback
My fingers hover over the rating scale... this book is a 3 in spots, a 5 in others.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Finding Your Voice entertains while it educates, providing writers with invaluable advice in language that is clear, colorful, and candid. The book has so much personality it almost seems alive and about to leap off the bookshelf -- no one but author Les Edgerton could have penned this particular how-to. Advice is delivered in chapters rich with examples and anecdotes to illustrate Edgerton's key message: that the attempt to "sound like a writer" often results in stiff, self-conscious prose -- and that writers should write to express, not impress. An excellent and useful addition to any writer's bookshelf.
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