The Thinking Quill

Dear Reader Who Writes,

It has come to my attention that there may still be those amongst you who are not entirely au fait with who I am and my impeccable credentials for penning these pieces of perfect pedagoguery. More on why I fear this in a moment, but for now, I must yet again remind you, it seems that I am Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV, Ivy to my friends, author of the science fiction and fantasy classic, ‘Fatswhistle and Buchtooth’. Mayhap it is because I have temporarily withdrawn this gem of literature from the maw of an unappreciative public whose ability to discern quality is clearly lacking.

The issue of having one’s fame less recognised than it should be, came to one’s attention when Mumsie returned from an evening at our local hostelry ‘The Pink Wigeon’. She stumbled into my writing room cursing and swearing about not being able to see as I had been writing by the light of a single candle to enchant and encourage my Muse.

“You’re wasting your bloody time, Moons,” she declaimed as she picked herself up from the floor. “No one has heard of you and no one ever will. I asked in the pub and no one had any idea. No one. Not one of the bastards.” Then she staggered back up the step from my underground lair and vanished into the night. Had she remained to hear it, my bright witticism of a reply came to me scant minutes later. “Mummy,” I would have said, “prophets are never honoured in their own hometown.” She would have had no answer to that one, I am sure!

How to Start Writing a Book – Lesson 26: The Write Voice

You may have heard it said that every writer has their own ‘voice’. But I suspect, dear Reader Who Writes, that no more enlightens you than it did myself when I first encountered that phrase many days ago now. But allow me to explain so you may acquire this essential aspect of your actualisation as an author.

Your voice is how you speak and your writing Voice is how you speak to your readers. It is that simple. When you choose the precise posy of willing words from the diverse dictionary of your capacious creativity, this – this dear reader Who Writes – is your own unique Voice.

‘But, my beloved teacher,” I hear you say, “Is this not what I already do? Am I not thus, fully fledged from the outset with my own vibrant Voice?” And I reply ‘Nay! And Nay! And thrice Nay! Oh ignorant one.” This is why is I who am the teacher and you the humble pupil, sitting at my metaphorical feet to benefit from my knowledge and wisdom in matters pertaining to the literary arts.

That which you fondly consider your Voice at present is merely your own fumbling effort to present prose in a manner that at least is not too distasteful to a reader. Consider yourself as an aspiring cook who has acquired sufficient skill not to burn their offerings. You will acknowledge that is a long way from being a Master Chef!

Your Voice is only achieved at the end of a long apprenticeship. It is the end result of your hard work. Of those long hours spent burning the candle at both ends (though I have yet to find a candle holder that permits this myself) so that you can emerge from the chrysalis of mere imitation into the fully fledged speckled butterfly of your own Voice.

For therein, dear disciple, lies the secret of attaining your own Voice. Copy that of your literary betters until you have imbibed their Voice and imprinted it upon your own. After all, who are you to think you can write with a more compelling Voice than those whose literary feet you are not fit to touch?

Until next we meet.

Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV

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