Before you sit down to write a script, you have to feel confident and prepared. That means you have to know and trust that only YOU can tell your story. In this article, we will delve into the importance of finding your voice as a writer and provide valuable insights to help you unleash the power of authenticity in your screenplay so that you can stop procrastinating and get to writing.
WHAT IS A WRITER’S VOICE?
When we talk about developing your voice as a writer, what we mean is a writer’s distinct personality, style, and tone that emerges through a writer's work. It is the expression of their individuality, beliefs, and perspective. Just as each person has a unique speaking voice, writers have their own distinctive literary voice. As an aspiring professional screenwriter, discovering and nurturing this voice is crucial for creating authentic, compelling, and memorable stories.
Too often, new scriptwriters get wrapped up in feeling that they need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to screenwriting, but that is not necessarily the case. By strengthening your voice as a writer, you will begin to understand that you have stories inside of you that can only be told by you, and that makes all the difference. Check out the three tips below to boost your confidence as a screenwriter and hone your voice.
HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR VOICE AS A SCREENWRITER
1. Discover what makes you different. What unique life experiences cater to and shape your skills as a writer? Recognize that your experiences, perspectives, and personality are unlike anyone else's. Celebrate your individuality and allow it to shine through your writing. Are you an immigrant? Find ways to weave that experience into your storytelling. Maybe you are queer and tell stories about an underrepresented community. Pull from the fabrics of you to find your voice and make your stories come alive. Far too often, new screenwriters find themselves trying to imitate other writers or cater solely to industry trends. Instead, focus on expressing your own truth and vision. Embracing what makes you different will lead to an authentic voice in your writing.
2. Hone your craft. Developing your voice requires honing your craft through consistent practice and learning. Read as many screenplays as you can! The Professional Pen’s Screenplay Vault is a great resource to explore different genres and analyze the works of diverse authors. Experiment with various writing techniques, styles, and structures to discover what resonates with you. Come up with a writing routine and try to write regularly and challenge yourself to push the boundaries of your creativity. As you refine your skills and deepen your understanding of storytelling, your voice will naturally evolve and become more distinct. Now, let’s take a look at a script where the writer’s voice is strong.
In QUEEN & SLIM, written by Lena Waithe, Waithe’s voice is immediately clear. She makes us feel like we know these characters and the environment that they are in. And though she may be breaking some screenwriting rules, Waithe makes it clear on page one that she has a unique voice by the way that she introduces us to both the world and the characters. There is no doubt by how the action is written that this is a Lena Waithe script. That’s what you’re going for. Be yourself and set the mood with your words. Just remember not to be too heavy-handed. In the end, it isn’t about you or your voice. It’s about the characters.
3. Write stories you are passionate about. One of the most powerful ways to find your voice is to write from the heart. Tap into your emotions and passions. Infuse your writing with authenticity and vulnerability. What drives you? Are you passionate about the environment? Or maybe you are passionate about womens rights, for example. Consider ways you can infuse your passions into your storytelling in a genuine and authentic way. What stories are you naturally drawn too? Writing about what you’re passionate about not only helps you discover your voice but also creates a genuine connection with the reader.
TRUSTING YOURSELF AS A WRITER
As you embark on your writing journey, it's important to embrace growth and evolution. Your voice will evolve over time as you gain experience, encounter new influences, and mature as a writer. Allow yourself the freedom to explore and experiment, knowing that your voice will continue to evolve and refine. Embrace feedback, learn from constructive criticism, and be open to new perspectives.
To nurture your voice as a writer, you must first trust yourself. That means letting go of self doubt and all of the negative voices in your head. Want to break free from negative thoughts when it comes to screenwriting? Then check out our Meditation for Writers video. Having a clear mind before you sit down to write will aid in letting your true self flow onto the page. Also, check out our Membership to join a community of supportive writers and gain access to mentorship from our Story Experts, learn more about screenwriting, and expand your network! And remember, you can do this!