Thursday, August 4, 2011

Willa Cather on voice

(Excerpt from The Literary Ladies)

"When I was in college and immediately after graduation, I did newspaper work, I found that news paper writing did a great deal of good for me in working off the purple flurry of my early writing. Every young writer has to work off the "fine writing" stage. It was a painful period in which I overcame my florid, exaggerated, foamy-at-the-mouth, adjective-spree period. I knew even then it was a crime to write like I did, but I had to get the adjectives and the youthful fervor worked off.
I believe every young writer must write whole books of extravagant language to get it out. It is agony to be smothered in your own florescence, and to be forced to dump great cartloads your posies to in the road before you find that one posy that will fit in the right place..."
Inter, Lincoln Daily Star, 1915

I LOVE Willa Cather's voice in this interview, don't you? Voice is a struggle for most writers I think. Finding one's voice is probably the biggest task in the journey of a writer.
One suggest is finding your style and voice through imitation of your favorite authors while learning the lessons you need. Willa Cather admits to copying Henry James.

Do you have a favorite author? What have you learned from them?

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