Voice, Houses, and Other Fun Stuff

Saturday, November 12, Inspire Christian Writers held its quarterly workshop. After a fun mixer, we had two breakout sessions. I attended the Advanced Writer Workshop with Kathy Boyd Fellure. She described her voice as lyrical. She read from her recently completed novel, which takes place in Lake Tahoe. She ascribed physical and emotional attributes to the lake, and took us through an exercise to do the same thing with a house.

Several years ago, actor Kevin Kline made a movie called Life as a House. It was a beautiful story of family restoration through rebuilding a crumbling, decrepit shack into a gorgeous home. I was reminded of the movie when my fellow writer, and sister, Mary Allen, shared what she’d written during Kathy’s workshop. I am excited to share it with you.

Life as a House

By: Mary A. Allen

When I was new and fresh and all my friends and I gleamed with fresh paint and were surrounded by bright green lawns, I seemed to be the happiest. I loved to hear the sounds of children laughing and playing kickball in the street. Neighborhood dogs ran with the children. My door was never locked.

My windows are now heavy with bars. My door is laden with locks. My lawn has dried up over the years and eventually disappeared altogether.

I’m worn out, my face is grey. My welcoming appearance has melted into frightening. I cringe when people step on my stairs. I cry onto my floors when it rains.

The neighborhood is quiet now, except for the frequent police raids. We’re all ashamed when we have our secrets revealed.

Kathy encouraged us to keep searching and praying until we find our voice. It’s apparent that Mary’s voice is also lyrical.

The following is a quote from author Donald Mass:

“What the heck is “voice”? By this, do editors mean “style”? I do not think so. By voice, I think they mean not only a unique way of putting words together, but a unique sensibility, a distinctive way of looking at the world, an outlook that enriches an author’s oeuvre. They want to read an author who is like no other. An original. A standout. A voice.”

What’s your unique way of looking at the world?

Do you write straightforward, no frills, little description? Do you use cultural or artistic references in your writing? Do you like tension-building scenes, as in a mystery novel?

Next time we’ll look at how to find your unique voice – what Kathy Fellure says is as unique as your fingerprints.

Let me know what you think YOUR voice is.

About Jane S. Daly 20 Articles
Jane Daly was awarded the Excellence in Editing award for her book, The Caregiving Season, and two Cascade Awards sponsored by Oregon Christian Writers. She is also the author of Because of Grace (2015) as well as the vice president and treasurer of Inspire Christian Writers. Jane Daly is a California girl living in an Oregon world. She and her husband and two cats relocated to a small town in rural Oregon from a big California city.