Up to Snuff #46: Writers Voice, Subculturalization and the Allure of Academic Writing
By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu
A writer’s “voice” may be indicated by several key components. A writer’s voice may be impacted by first or third person, by the tense they choose, the strength of research that informs their content, positive/negative voice, wise voice or polished and clean voice. Writing may in fact be a practice of wisdom-in order to be wise and needing of wisdom.
It may be noted one’s attention to grammar and language, whether big words or precise words are chosen. How deep, how engaged or how lean may impact a writer’s voice as well as how practiced. How much value, how much service and how relevant will also impact a writers voice. How sweetened or how beautified can impact one’s voice in writing. Perhaps a female voice or an older or younger voice or cultural or dialect voice may be chosen.
What also impacts the reader of one’s voice are the chosen template for one’s work, whether or not it is a threaded work-“prayer bead style,” or from a specific template that uses for example a thesis statement then supporting sentences or evidence or a specific frame work. It impacts a writers voice how they build their content and what mechanics they employ. A writer may expand their voice by testing their range on a variety of writing projects.
A writer’s voice is also impacted by their specific experience while working in the field of writing especially those who have worked as journalists or written for newspapers where writing in first and third person is often forbidden. A writer with a journalism background may utilize a “truth based” or fact orientation and disregard personal opinion, unless they are an opinion writer.
A writer may use modern approaches to design their voice using eg. “development sessions”-where a writer uses writing itself for development to gather knowledge via the building of writings.
One’s writing voice has often to do with their speaking as well, how well- spoken they are. A writer can enrich their writing by engaging in research based writing that is data rich. Another interesting angle to take as a writer that impacts their voice is academic writing which carries bars and conventionality. Academic writing is usually done while connected to academia either as a student or an employee or a researcher. One often needs access to academic papers and libraries for research and in some cases briefs or specific assignments or groups of researchers. In journalism one is often feeding off current events, connecting research and using investigative methods.
An interesting voice to develop as a writer may be when one chooses a subculture. For example one may write about horror or mystery within a writing group that is tuned into perhaps a “gothic” subculturalization or the culturalization of a writing genre. In a gothic or horror subculture one may use gloves or eyeliner or hair dyes or black attire to fashion ones group for example. One may choose also to inform their voice via a subculture like “naturalist,” or a subculture like “Victorian,” or even a specific “tribe” of their choosing. Culturalization may be done with attire, graphics or specific music of an era or instruments. It may be wonderful to enjoy these subcultures as groups, even seasonal groups or annual groups or groups that meet in specific countries or universities, or good old local writing groups. It may be challenging to fashion and outfit one’s group or create an aesthetic, even an aesthetic to one’s dissemination.
A writer may utilize film techniques like “thumbnails” or story boards to achieve clarity in their writing and improve their voice. Pictures fall easily from words. It is easy to illustrate a written book. What do words fall from? Writing seems to be built and threaded using templates. For example, a fiction writer may want a beginning, middle and end. What seems to be really chief in writing is how clarity or the power of understandability-to be really, really understood- and use of template impact one’s voice.
Sometimes before one begins a practice of writing they may undergo a period of clarifying their own brain and even maturing themselves. It is as if without a heavily engaged writing practice one’s brain may not have order from its thoughts and dialog which impacts ones initial and later voice.
Some writers are the composite of all the places they have travelled or lived and employ accents within their writing voice or voices. You can hear the actual voice and sensitivity of a writer when you read their work and it becomes the soul of the writing. Writers utilize technology running programs over writings or designing graphically writing eg. bucktooth letters, to emotionalize their writing, which impacts how it is heard.
A writer’s voice may not be pioneering enough and may stick to status quo or may not have enough sensitivity within the public media. A writer’s voice may be delicate or strong or wielding or even aggressive or overly assertive. A writer may be supremely aware of their power as a writer to inform, influence, suggest and perhaps foster change, sometimes large scale. A writer may have a historical perspective within their writings. Many designs and choices impact the voice of a writer. Many professions, travels, doings and practice develop a writer’s voice.