Using Your Outside Voice

Before publishing my very first blog post, I ran it past my teenaged daughter Bea.

She said, “Mom, you’re using your storyteller voice again.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

She shrugged. “Oh, you know…narrative, formal, soft and wise. You might think like that inside your head, but it’s not the way you talk.”

“How do I talk?”

“You’re funny.  And sassy.  Mom, your idea is good.  Just say the same thing, only write like you’d say it. Write in the same voice you used to write Real Troopers.”   Out of the mouth of babes.

How many times were we told as children to use our Inside Voice, the demure, soft, polite, quiet voice that will offend and disturb no one?  I’ll tell you: LOTS.  Now my own child was urging me to use my Outside Voice, that of the goofball, smart ass, class clown.

It’s the sometimes-too-loud voice that spills out of my mouth when I’m with trusted family and friends. As Bea observed, it’s the voice I use in my novel-in-progress, Real Troopers.  Maybe I struck the right chord in Real Troopers because it’s about sassy funny Girl Scout leaders, written from the point of view of a middle-aged woman who is desperately trying to find her real voice.

So I turned that first post into more of a conversation than a story, and Bea was right—I like it so much better.  I’m happier when using my Outside Voice, in my backyard, in my living room, and in my writing.

Or perhaps I should say, ‘When I allow my Inner Voice to go Outside to play.’

All I need now is to make my readers a virtual cup of coffee, and come to the table–or the computer–in my jammies for an early morning chat.  Hey, got a minute? Wanta cuppa? Cream or sugar?

All words and images copyright Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself.

BTW: Adventures in Hats is my daughter Bea’s writing blog.  I won’t embarrass her by telling you she’s won awards for her poetry and her stories.  But I will say that I can almost hear her voice when I read it, and her illustrations are delightful.  If you drop by, tell her I said ‘howdy!’

Lucky Seven Time!

Sabrina Garie, author of Fires of Justice, tagged me (sometime ago) for Lucky Seven. Be sure to check out her blog, Sabrina Garie: Life’s a Journey, Keep It Spicy.  She is funny, intelligent and, yes, spicy!

So what’ s Lucky Seven?   Here’s how it works.

*  Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript

*  Go to line 7

*  Post on your blog the next 7 lines or sentences

*  Tag 7 other people to do the same

 (To help set the scene, here is a photo of my long suffering mother and me.)

This will help put in context the following excerpt from my manuscript, Real Troopers:  Crystal Logan was raised to believe being a good wife and mother meant always putting your family first.  When a cancer scare triggers a Middling Life Crisis, Crystal finally rebels at setting up Girl Scout camp in the rain.  She and her Girl Scout co-leaders go rogue, and take a field trip to Italy, without children, husbands, or permission slips.  At a castle in Tuscany they meet Walter, amateur astronomer, poet, and retired F.B.I. agent.  Crystal falls hard, and has some tough choices to make.

“Sorry,” he said, laughing softly.  “I wasn’t expecting company.”  While he cleared the clutter, Crystal flashed a helpless grimace in the direction of her girlfriends, still crouched and hiding  in the roadside ditch.  

    “That’s better,” said the stranger, stepping aside. 

      Crystal had never gotten into a car with a total stranger.  She could hear the bloodcurdling echoes of her parents’ voices screaming in alarm.  What the hell, she thought.  Cancer would probably get her before this guy would.  A remarkably liberating thought.  Crystal smiled up at him, and he smiled back.  This must be the year of living dangerously.  The click of the stranger’s car door behind her sealed her fate.

(To see a photo of Walter in the Wild, click here.)

Now here are the next Lucky Seven winners.  Honestly, I don’t care which seven lines they choose to share.  I’m just looking forward to reading their work, and introducing them to my friends.  If I’ve included an extra writer or two, I doubt anyone will mind, because that’s one or two more writers to discover and connect with.  Happy tales!

Sarah Potter, sarahpotterwrites

Kourtney Heinz, Kourtney Heinz’s Journal

Beatrice, Adventures for the Faint of Heart

Sara Flower, Sara Flower Writes

Kasia James, Writer’s Block

T.W. Dittmer, Self-Published Author

Paula Acton, Scribblings of an Aspiring Author

Maggie Myklebust, flyawayhomebook

Char, Joy in the Moment

Because this is all about wordcrafting, I will also include a splendid poet, the icing on the cake, The Poet By Day, Jamie Dedes.

All words and images copyright 2013 Naomi Baltuck

Using Your Outside Voice

Before publishing my very first blog post, I ran it past my teenaged daughter Bea.

She said, “Mom, you’re using your storyteller voice again.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

She shrugged. “Oh, you know…narrative, formal, soft and wise. You might think like that inside your head, but it’s not the way you talk.”

“How do I talk?”

“You’re funny.   And sassy.  Mom, your idea is good. Just say the same thing, only write like you’d say it. Write in the same voice you used to write Real Troopers.”

    Out of the mouth of babes. How many times were we told as children to use our Inside Voice, the demure, soft, polite, quiet voice that will offend and disturb no one?   I’ll tell you: LOTS.  Now my own child was urging me to use my Outside Voice, that of the goofball, smart ass, class clown. It’s the sometimes-too-loud voice that spills out of my mouth when I’m with my family and friends. As Bea observed, it’s the voice I used in my novel-in-progress, Real Troopers. Maybe I struck the right chord in Real Troopers because it’s about sassy funny Girl Scout leaders, written from the point of view of a middle-aged woman who is desperately trying to find her real voice.

That post is now much more a conversation than a story, and Bea was right—I like it so much better. Conclusion: I am happier when using my Outside Voice, in my backyard, in my living room, and in my writing. All I need to get going is to make my readers a virtual cup of coffee, and come to the table–or the computer–in my jammies for an early morning chat.

Hey, got a minute? Wanta cuppa? Cream or sugar?

Have you had to struggle to find your voice in your writing, or in your life?   Do you have any tricks you could share with us?

BTW: Adventures for the Faint of Heart is my daughter Bea’s writing blog.  I can almost hear her voice when I read it.  Here is the link if you want to look her up: http://adventuresforthefaintofheart.wordpress.com/