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In Creative Writing what is VOICE?

Beswick MaryJo -2-The PartyThis week I got to spend time with Virginia Poet Laureate Emerita, Carolyn Kreiter Foronda. She talked about the importance of VOICE in creative writing. Voice referring not only to who is doing the speaking, as in 1st person or 3rd person, but also in what style, feeling and point of view. This got me thinking about a key interest of mine…authentic self-expression and point of view. A child’s point of view would be very different than an adult’s. Or an animal’s point of view such as in Charlotte’s Web or Watership Down comes from a very different perspective than that of humans. This takes imagination. Carolyn even writes sometimes from the perspective of an inanimate object like a chair.  I have an artist friend who has painted a series of chairs that are deeply emotional and personally expressive. Voice in painting is very much the same as in writing only the artist uses color, shape and texture instead of verbs and nouns, rhythm, and syntax. It seems to me that authentic VOICE in any artistic form must be personal and genuine. It must flow from the heart as much as the head…a confident mix of experience and imagination. It takes lots of practice to develop authentic VOICE…said the late bloomer.