johnedwards/morguefile
Source: johnedwards/morguefile

"I want to write like the woman two chairs to my left," a student told me after a recent workshop.

It's true, that woman's writing flowed freely and poetically. It had a literary feel. But she'd been writing for years, and this was his first day. While he had a totally different voice than hers, his tone was wonderful - spare, funny, direct. His personality came through.

I had mentioned in the workshop that one way to help yourself write in a certain tone was to read a piece in that tone before writing. For example, if you want to write funny, you might read a funny passage; if you want to write poetically, you might read a poem.

Not every piece has to be in the same tone. One could be hilarious, another poignant. But a reader knows what's authentic. 

Underneath it all, especially with first person pieces, you want to write in your authentic voice. Your tone is the voice we hear as we read. Like the voice we hear when we talk to somebody. It affects how we respond - whether we go on reading or turn the page.

We all have something to say. What matters is how we say it - with details, with images, with TONE.

Writing prompt: Write about your authentic voice. Who is the person who wants to come through?

Copyright (c) 2015 by Laura Deutsch

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