Know Jack #332 The Voice of Experience
“Write what you know about.”
Twain may not be the only writer to give that advice, but he is a great example of a fervent follower of it. Of course, that has gotten him banned by Woke America most of whom cannot grasp the value and message of books like Huckleberry Finn because it contains words unapproved words.
I hear Microsoft has developed a new Word tool that not only checks spelling and grammar but points out better Woke word choices for authors. It allows you to keep a watch on pronouns, gender bias, race, and cultural sensitivity.
In other words, it erases the author’s voice in favor of the collective voice. My question is, where’s the fun in that? Why read a writer’s work but to hear his/her voice—to enter into what they know about from the voice that lived it?
A writer’s word choices and phraseology are a window on their life experience that allows the reader to connect on a level deeper than the page. It’s not just the words they know, but how they string them together.
Life colors speech. Those people with law enforcement and military backgrounds have an affinity for certain words and what they want to convey in a scene. I have found the same true of content writers and screenwriters. Male and female writers will describe a car very differently—sorry non-binaries.
As a nurse, I was taught to avoid nouns and pronouns and focus on verbs. Precise details about size and colors were very important. That’s a skill most male nurses who own a simple eight-color box of crayons have to work harder at than their female counterparts who own that giant 256 color box.
I have a practiced pattern of King James Bible sentence structure and word usage that, like the book, sometimes sound awkward and confusing to those not indoctrinated to it. Trying to sort that out with my military and nursing speech patterns is always amusing.
What I’m trying to say is that, like St. Peter outside the trial, “thy speech bewrayeth thee.” Who you are, and your life experience undergirds your writing and tells something about you. That being the case, bring that out in the open and flaunt it. It worked for Mark Twain.