First three chapters were covered here.
Chapter 4 – The Importance of Raw Voice
Available to everyone, uses natural language and a sense of urgency and honesty. Compare to the more polished voice it takes to tell a whole story. But the phrases that just float up to you, without conscious effort, are in raw voice; raw voice is a key to vision.
Beginner writers often try to jump straight to ‘story voice’, but you should learn how to play your instrument – raw voice – first if you want to write powerful, original material. Learn to trust it.
Chapter 5 – The Voice as an Instrument
Thinking of the voice as sound, the whole body can be thought of as the instrument – like the hollow body of a violin producing the resonance of the strings being played. Writing from the brain alone doesn’t allow this; there are reasons we refer to emotions coming ‘from the gut’, etc. The authors advise, “Let your stomach write a paragraph. Then your heart.”
Try some yoga-style breathing exercises, in contrast to writing a paragraph while holding your breath.
As an exercise, try writing structured, resonant nonsense. That is, a grammatical sentence where the words used don’t have any conscious association. For example:
“Although spoons create kymographic leaves, the undulation verve of the bracken riveted rice, and wen the callous failed, luminous clacks vied the loom with a sandwich”
This can spur a sense of cadence and rhythm, as well as silencing the inner critic.
Chapter 6 – Inner Listening
“Don’t reach for voice. Let it reach for you.”
Some people are lucky in having innate faith that they have an inner voice – they wake up with a sentence running through their head and turn it into a story. For others, the best way to find the inner voice is ironically by starting to write. Abandon yourself to the moment, forgetting outcome. Perhaps try free writing – write whatever nonsense comes from the energy of the pen’s movement, for five minutes. Revel in gibberish.
When a sentence just comes to you – rejoice at the offering. Otherwise, help cultivate voice by doing anything playful that gets you out of your head, before you start writing. Try writing in the dark, putting on a special writing outfit, meditation, aromatherapy, using the ‘wrong’ hand, drawing before you write, or cutting up your words and rearranging them. Try deliberately writing when you’re tired or angry or upset – what changes? Experiment. Be playful.