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New Voices! John Rea-Hedrick: Finding Your Voice

To celebrate the holiday season, (well, besides giving away tons of books) we're sharing our 100 244 (and counting!) followers with some fantastic guest bloggers. Next up in our New Voices series is John Rea-Hedrick, who's got some great things to say about finding your voice.

A little about John:

John Rea-Hedrick resides in Greenwood, Indiana with his wife and four children. He graduated from Indiana University in 1995 where he studied philosophy and creative writing. He’s spent the past ten years working as an Information Technology professional in Indianapolis and is currently working on his first novel. In addition to writing fiction, in his spare time John enjoys listening to university course lectures from the public library and reading and writing poetry. John’s blog: http://perspectives.rea-hedrick.com



Finding Your Voice

How many times have you heard a song on the radio then found yourself humming it, or even singing it, long after the music has stopped? Plenty, right? Music just has a way of getting inside us; it can influence our mood, touch our emotions, and even change the way we think.

Good books can do the same thing.

Whenever I come away from an extended visit with a good book the music of the writing stays with me long after I’ve turned the page. Just read a chapter or two of Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights and see if you don’t find your speech a bit more formal (maybe even your posture!) at least for a little while. Even reading a few pages of Dr. Seuss is likely to leave you thinking and speaking in rhymes.

For readers, experiences like this can be quite enjoyable, but for writers, they can feel potentially disastrous. How many times have you come away from a great book, inspired to whip your own WIP into shape, only to find everything you write sounds JUST LIKE THE BOOK YOU WERE READING? The music of that book, lovely as it may be, is now playing in your head. So you suddenly you find yourself staring at a blank page with something akin to literary laryngitis, asking yourself ‘but what do I sound like?’

What to do?

Well, whenever I find myself in that position I stop and consider what it is about the writing that makes it stay with me. Deconstructing what another author has done helps remove me from the influence of their writing by letting me peek behind the curtain to see how they’ve done it, which ultimately brings me closer to doing the same thing in my own writing.

So what about you? When it comes to your writing, how do you go about finding your voice?

~John Rea-Hedrick
Kirsten Hubbard

Kirsten is the author of Like Mandarin, Wanderlove, and the middle grade novel Watch the Sky.

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4 comments:

  1. From Virginia @ Where You Hang Your Hat (post was republished)

    I just read Emma and Mansfield Park in quick succession and have found myself both speaking more formally, as you describe, and even looking at others through a 19th-century lens! I need to read something contemporary, and fast. It's a good thing I'm not working on my novel this month.

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  2. Great post, John!

    I like reading stuff that's completely different from whatever I'm writing, different genre, way different voice, all of it. Keeps me thinking. :)

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  3. Great post. I'm not really sure how I find my voice in writing. But I do know I like to do the same thing. Deconstruct how they built the story and look at a good book from more of a technical aspect to help learn how to accomplish the same effect.

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  4. Like Amanda, I have nooo idea how I find my voice. It just appears. I find that reading something in the same genre as whatever WIP I'm on can sometimes be a disaster, as you mentioned, because if it's really good, it makes me feel like my own voice is weird. It takes a couple days, but I get back to it.

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Item Reviewed: New Voices! John Rea-Hedrick: Finding Your Voice Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kirsten Hubbard