Developing your writer’s voice #2

Not all these exercises will work for every writer, but some might enable you to find and/or further develop your voice.

(Most of these exercises are taken from Finding Your Writer's Voice: A Guide to Creative Fiction by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall)

Unusual situations and a sense of urgency will bring out voice.

External stimuli: Create a certain setting or mood by surrounding yourself with objects that will put you emotionally in different states. Try laying on your desk several things that make you mad. Or maybe things that make you sad. Be creative and utilize all five senses. Create different atmospheres that run the gamut of your emotions--don't hold back. Explore difficult emotions, intense emotions.

Internal stimuli: Use your mind to put you in different places, at different times. A cold, lonely prison cell. A loud, crowded prison cell. An abandoned warehouse during WW2 with bombs exploding. A desolate cornfield during the Depression. What's important is to put yourself in an unusual situation or one with some type of emotional urgency. Immerse yourself in your imaginary world, feel the culture and tension around you.

Once in that atmosphere, whether external or internal, free-write. Write about anything and everything. Use the computer or use a pen and paper. Don't let yourself stop writing--write gibberish or repeat yourself if you have to.

Do this for many different types of external and internal stimuli. The object is to experiment and discover what stimuli helps create that sense of urgency to unleash your voice.