The ‘voice’ which you write in is an important part of creative writing. ‘Voice’ is the tone and style in which you write – the personality behind the writing. In writing from personal experience knowing what your voice should be is easy – it’s you! To get the most out of it, exaggerate your personality. When we write about our own lives we naturally use the first person, using the words like ‘me’, ‘myself’ and ‘I.’
Many of the tasks will enable you to speak straight to the reader. This is called direct address. You can create a much more intimate atmosphere, or act as if the reader is your friend. This can make writing much more effective. You can use the second person pronoun (‘you’) to show that you’re talking directly to your audience. But the tone of your writing will do more of the work.
Look at the task closely – how formal do you need to be? A lot of autobiographical writing is informal, letting you make jokes and be yourself. Some tasks will require you to be more formal though – be careful to check which way you should write.
Treating yourself as a character
When you write about yourself you need to think of yourself as a character.
- Give the reader a clear idea of what you’re like – think of two or three aspects of your personality, and let those come across. Don’t try to pack everything in!
- Think of the things you might notice in a novel which symbolise something about a person in that novel: their tattered clothes might show that they are poor, or that they don’t care about their appearance; they might carry a teddy bear which shows that they haven’t really grown up yet, or they might wear something that reminds them of someone important. What symbol can you put into your autobiographical writing to show what you’re like?
- If you are including pieces of direct speech in your piece of writing, think about using the right vocabulary choices. Were you much younger when this story is taking place? Make sure the direct speech reflects the person you were when the incident happened, not the person you are now.