Fond du Lac High School

Are You Reading Closely?

Finding my voice. Now, that is a tricky subject. I’m not even sure I quite have found it yet, if I am being painfully honest, but then again, perhaps I have. Let’s keep the mystery alive. At any rate, are you reading closely?

Reflecting on my history as a writer, I am compelled to bring in one of my favorite movies–The Prestige–as I explore this issue. I just can’t help myself.

In the movie, we learn there are three parts to a magic trick: the pledge, the turn, and the prestige.

The Pledge. Show the reader something ordinary.

This is where I decide what I am going to show you, the reader. In fact, it is without a doubt the most important aspect to my writing. The topic could be anything in the world. Doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the topic is of my choosing and means the world to me.

In this scenario, I choose to show you the importance of the topics you decide to share. They say everything about you. They are your voice.

You’ll, naturally, be able to relate to the topic because nothing is new under the sun. It will seem as normal as any other topic you could read about.

But it won’t be. And that’s the point.

The Turn. Turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

I will take that ordinary topic and add my own extraordinary twist to it. At this point, you will be intrigued and will look to discover my secret.

I’ll explain that your ordinary topic can be made extraordinary through simple context and storytelling, if you put the thought in to make it so.

You’ll ask:

How did he do it? Where did he come up with that unique perspective? Why is it that he can write this way and make these connections when I can’t?

You’ll want the answers, but you won’t find them because you don’t really want to know. You’re not really looking for them.

You want to be fooled into thinking you can’t accomplish the feat on your own. It’s far easier to believe that than to put the work in to figure it out! Trust me. I know that all too well.

You’ll just play it off because anyone can put an interesting spin on a topic.

The Prestige. Bring back the ordinary extraordinarily.

And you won’t be impressed until the ordinary is brought back–until that unique point of view is related directly to you, the reader. It would seem unfinished, which is why every magic trick has a third act.

How do we find our voice then?

It really has nothing to do at all with how we write (well, maybe it does just a little…). But I do believe it is something else entirely.

I can’t tell you the secret because we know it’s really not all that impressive.

It’s far too simple for that.

But…if you were reading closely, you would know exactly where to start when looking for your voice.

Read over Sam Brown’s post “Finding your voice as a writer” to find the initial inspiration I had when preparing to write my post!

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