Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fabulous Workshop

Tonight, I attended my local RWA chapter meeting. As ususal, I had a wonderful time chatting with writer friends, cheering their good news, listening to what's going on within the chapter, etc. But Wednesday's meeting held a new twist, a special surprise. Chapter-mate Jennifer Greene drove all the way to the Chicago suburbs to present a fabulous workshop on Voice and Style.

Sound boring? It wasn't. In fact, she was able to clarify these two elusive concepts for me. Jennifer defined style as the "flavor of the story" and voice as the "food itself" and the "nutrition you take away." Another chapter-mate worded it a different way. She redefined style as the "head" and voice as the "heart." Both great metaphors.

To further explain style, Jennifer said it's a writer's technique, it's craft. You're not born with it. It's something you can learn. And it's the only thing you have complete control over.

Voice, on the other hand, is a gift unique to each author. It can't be learned. It's a writer's truth. Writer's use voice to reveal how they see the world to the reader. Jennifer encouraged new writers to stop fretting about whether they have a voice or not. You do. Every writer does. Now stop fretting about it.

So there you have it - voice and style. Any more questions? Not I.

Jennifer's a warm, easy to talk to, Midwestern gal. She won the prestigious Rita Award for Best Romance Novella in 2008, which she brought with her, allowed a score of drooling authors to rub her golden head, and looked on in amusement as I had my picture taken with the little beauty.

My thanks to Jennifer for her generous support and for traveling hundreds of miles to visit us. And I hope to chat with her more in the very near future.

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