The Voice Issue 29: May/June 2017 - Page 4

4

on sound

When I was a kid, back in the 50’s, many in my town didn’t have electricity. And most of us, my family included, didn’t have TV. But we had radio. Boy, did our family have a radio. It was a Victrola radio/phonograph cabinet much like the photo you see here. The radio and speaker were on the right. The record player and shelves were on the left.

I liked to switch on the radio, pull out all the 78 records (jazz and classical), remove the shelf, crawl in, shut the cabinet door and listen to re-runs of The Shadow and The Lone Ranger. I loved the sensation of hearing the words and effects and feeling the vibration of the sound. Which may explain why I am so intrigued with audio.

But there is another reason. Sound is the unsung (sorry) hero of writing. It is the key to finding our true voice. Speak the sentence you just wrote. Does it sound like you? No? Change it.

Before writing, stories, myths and information were passed along by word of mouth, the oral tradition. And when you think about it, we are happy to tell someone a story because we can be spontaneous, add expression, change tone and, well, be natural. It’s our voice. And it’s easy – most of the time.

But write it? Our enthusiasm wains; even us “writers”. It takes more concentration, more critical thinking. We have to inject emotion and tone. And there are all those dang rules. It seems un-natural. It’s more difficult.

If you recognize that writing is important to your confidence and ability to succeed, if you want to get to the point where writing is natural and easier, you must get your writing closer to your natural, oral voice. It must sound like you or, in fiction, like the characters you create.

To help you understand this relationship, Young Writers Project tries to get you to record yourself reading or presenting your work. We have open mics, recording parties and even created a widget on youngwritersproject.org for you to record yourself right on your post. We try to help you find the inner, conversational writer inside.

We’re trying a few more things. On youngwritersproject.org you can now record a comment on someone else’s post. Will it make commenting easier? Will you do more commenting? Will it help you understand your own voice? We’ll see.

And in mid-June, when we announce the YWP’s Summer of Stories Challenge 2017, we’ll be including challenges for you to speak and record your stories, sometimes with text and sometimes without.

Because we love sound. And we think sound helps you write and understand your voice.

Victrola radio/phonograph cabinet

I liked to switch on the radio, pull out all the 78 records (jazz and classical), remove the shelf, crawl in, shut the cabinet door and listen to re-runs of The Shadow and The Lone Ranger. I loved the sensation of hearing the words and effects and feeling the vibration of the sound. Which may explain why I am so intrigued with audio.

But there is another reason. Sound is the unsung (sorry) hero of writing. It is the key to finding our true voice. Speak the sentence you just wrote. Does it sound like you? No? Change it.

Before writing came along, stories, myths and information were passed along by word of mouth, the oral tradition. We still practice it; we are happy to tell someone a story because we can be spontaneous, add expression, change tone and, well, be natural. It’s our voice. And it’s easy – most of the time.

But write it? Our enthusiasm wains; even us “writers”. It takes more concentration, more critical thinking. We have to inject emotion and tone.

there are all those dang rules. It seems un-natural. It’s more difficult.

If you recognize that writing is important to your confidence and ability to succeed, if you want to get to the point where writing is natural and easier, you must get your writing closer to your natural, oral voice. It must sound like you or, in fiction, like the characters you create.

To help you understand this relationship, Young Writers Project tries to get you to record yourself reading or presenting your work. We have open mics, recording parties and even created a widget on youngwritersproject.org for you to record yourself right on your post. We try to help you find the inner, conversational writer inside.

We’re trying a few more things. On youngwritersproject.org you can now record a comment on someone else’s post. Will it make commenting easier? Will you do more commenting? Will it help you understand your own voice? We’ll see.

And in mid-June, when we announce the YWP’s Summer of Stories Challenge 2017, we’ll be including challenges for you to speak and record your stories, sometimes with text and sometimes without.

Because we love sound. And we think sound helps you write and understand your voice.