Finding Your Voice as a Writer

The Script Lab posted this great article on finding your voice as a screenwriter, not to be confused with the voices you give your characters in their dialogue. This article is about your voice as a storyteller:

The writing itself is for the artist to do; there are no rules, no magic recipes to apply, no golden ticket. But all good writing has a distinct voice. Why read one columnist over another in the Sunday Times? It almost always comes down to that writer’s original voice. The way two or more writers would describe the same element in a script might be quite different, yet they all could accomplish the writing objective with equal quality. 

“Words are the voice of the heart.” – Confucious

There is no better way to put it. Your voice, simply put, is you: it’s your scent, your soul, the abstract elixir of your core. As a screenwriter, it’s the way you describe the action, it’s your style and word choice, it’s the pulse of the page, it’s rhythm, and just as important, it’s also the decisions you make to grab the reader’s attention and connect with the audience. It’s the execution of the well rehearsed yet original dance you have with the audience as you lead them to become active participants in the story. 

Your voice is all of this, but the one thing it’s not is dialogue. Your characters own that. Each character must have his or her own distinct way of speaking – cadence, dialect, accent, vocabulary, etc. – and although each character’s dialogue is created and developed by you, it manifests from a very different place, and, if done properly, it comes from a separate person entirely – the character him/herself. 

Get more great resources from The Script Lab here.

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