It’s All About the Voice: How to Make Your Writing Sing


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It’s All About the Voice: How to Make Your Writing Sing

Bring music to your writing

Type: Webinar

Originally broadcast on April 20, 2017

Time Estimate: Thirty minutes for the main presentation and questions.


SKU: NUWEB14-17 Category: Tag:


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The great writing coach Donald Murray once said that “style” is something you bought off the rack at Brooks Brothers or T.J.Maxx. But “voice” was the discovery of the music in your writing. Donald Fry defined “voice” as the sum of all the strategies the writer uses to created the illusion that the writer is speaking to the reader directly from the page or screen.

Think of all the ways we use music as a metaphor for our writing. The writing has pace and rhythm. We read it aloud to listen to its voice. A story is “composed” with a beginning, middle, and ending. Inside the story there may be pauses, crescendos, refrains, repetitions. We want the story to flow.

All these can be discovered by exploring the relationships between music and writing. We’ll share 20 tips about music and writing in this special 30-minute training session.

What will I learn

  • How to use music to prepare to write
  • How to control the pace of a piece of writing
  • How to tune your voice as a writer
  • How to appreciate musical moves that might influence your writing
  • How to analyze a piece of writing the way a composer might listen to a musical score

Who should take this course

Because music and writing both carry a universal influence, any writer in any genre or platform would find this webinar useful. Reporters, feature writers, columnists, bloggers, writers on social networks — all these need to write with a distinctive voice. Where is the music in your writing? We guarantee it’s in there somewhere. Let us help you find it.


Roy Peter Clark

Roy Peter Clark is vice president and senior scholar at The Poynter Institute, where he has taught writing since 1979. He is the author of the book Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer and course on Poynter’s NewsU The Writer’s Workbench: 50 Tools You Can Use, and the book The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English. His latest work includes the book Help! For Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces, companion course on Poynter’s NewsU, Help! for Writers and mobile app Help! for Writers. He is part of the one-day workshop, The Writing Process, offered through Poynter’s NewsU. He also blogs and chats about writing tools on You can follow him on Twitter at @RoyPeterClark.

His newest book is How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times.

Clark has taught writing at every level — from school children to Pulitzer Prize-winning authors — for more than 30 years, and has spoken about the writer’s craft on The Oprah Winfrey Show, NPR and Today; at conferences from Singapore to Brazil; and at news organizations from The New York Times to the Sowetan in South Africa.

His other books include: “Free to Write: A Journalist Teaches Young Writers,” “Coaching Writers: Editors and Reporters Working Together,” “America’s Best Newspaper Writing,” “The Craft and Values of American Journalism” and “The Changing South of Gene Patterson: The Journalism of Civil Rights, 1960-1968.”

He is a Distinguished Service Member of the American Society of News Editors.