My writing group changed its format recently. The first half of the meeting is devoted to a particular topic of writing technique, complete with a pre-assigned writing exercise, and the second half of the meeting is devoted to the critique of one person's piece of writing. Because of people's summer schedules (I was gone much of June, both of the other women were gone much of July), we've only had
one two (it's been a while since I first wrote this entry) meetings with the new format. Our topic for the first one was "voice":
Each writer has a distinct personality. Hemingway, for example, would never write like Mark Twain. How does a writer develop her/his voice? What is the difference between voice and style? A writer must master narrative voice. How is it done, and what exactly is it? A story's voice is created by some fundamental tools a writer must have in their "writers toolbox." We will discuss these and look at how this all works.Our assignment was:
Create a narrative voice that is distinctly different from your own by changing a key element of the character. If you're a woman, write in a man's voice. If you're under thirty, create the voice of a character over sixty. Make a change in appearance or education or background.As you probably already know, I'm not a big fan of change, and as you may not know, writing assignments make me nervous, so my first, snarky response was, "Oh, geeze. That's what I do all the time!" Snarky, yes, but true, too. I suspect that there are few things fan fic teaches you as well as it teaches you how to write in someone else's voice. Because, really, that is what fan fic often comes down to: someone else's voice. Whether you're writing about actors or hipster band members or vampires, fan fic usually means writing about someone who is "distinctly different" from you, and, in the case of FPF, writing about someone who was originally created/written/presented by someone "distinctly different" from you.