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Tag: voice

Adding a Voice to your text

by on Oct.28, 2009, under Writing

When I’m preparing for a road trip, have a long commute or otherwise will be occupied for a long period of time doing something monotonous I like to download a couple of episodes of some of my favorite podcasts. Even though I usually grab Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me (Paula Poundstone and Mo Rocca together are comedy genius, ┬áPeter Sagal’s no slouch either,) and start the trip off with it, I inevitably end up switching to the Selected Shorts at Symphony Space podcast.

Selected Shorts brings together the pinnacle of the worlds best short stories, read by famous actors and authors like John Lithgow, ┬áB.D Wong, William Hurt, and a plethora of other amazing actors. The reverence which these actors hold to the written word is clearly visible as they bring to life the many amazing literary works they are tasked with performing. Its an amazing thing to sit and listen to a story you’ve read a dozen times before, and to get something entirely new from it because of that actor’s performance.

The short story is one of my favorite mediums for prose, but prior to finding Selected Shorts, I had never really considered the performance aspect of the material. When you write you have an internal cadence and style that often works brilliantly on the page. What happens when it is then spoken? Is your punctuation, sentence and paragraph structure such that when an actor picks up and reads your story aloud it maintains that same cadence and style you had within your head?

It is an interesting thing to consider, the performance of your work, you’ll start to notice very quickly that painstakingly crafted phrases have an entirely different meaning when set to voice. And these new interpretations of your work will inevitably shed new light and direction to your story that you never intended. Writing isn’t just something that happens within the hollows of the page, it’s something that exists in all mediums and all arts.

As you start writing this November 1st, take a moment every few days to read through your pages aloud. Record yourself. Record your wives and husbands and children. Listen to it again and again. The pure act of performing your new works aloud will give you insight into the plot, characters and life of the world you are crafting and will help you push the story from being more than just words on a page.

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