Finding Your Voice with Carrie TiffanyCarrie Tiffany

When you are just getting started as a writer it can be tricky to find your material and discover the story you want to tell. Carrie Tiffany's new course will help.

We asked Carrie to tell us a little bit more about Finding Your Voice.

FWA: Your course is called Finding Your Voice and in the first week you will be looking at how writers use voice. Can you describe what you mean by 'voice'? Do writers generally have a single voice?

CT: Voice is a mysterious concept. It is all the choices that a writer makes in their vocabulary, sentence and paragraph structure and in the larger movements of prose that makes that writer distinct. It is vitally present, but also working in the background like music.

FWA: In Exploded View, your recent novel, the voice of the narrator is extraordinarily evocative - relentlessly carving out the character, her environment and her experiences. In practice how did you manage to hone the voice so skilfully? Are you, in a way, keeping your own voice out of the story?

CT: Exploded View is dealing with voice at a meta level. The novel literally gives voice to someone who is silenced. It is a claustrophobic and interior space where the reader has direct access to a character’s emotional terrain. I worked slowly, often reading the sentences aloud. When the voice was ‘true’ it seemed to fall out of the material quite naturally. I was attuned to the ‘off-note’ and quick to cut. There were periods when the novel got shorter and shorter and I despaired of being able to complete it.

FWA: In the course you will be looking at ways to find inspiration for stories. Can you share an experience of your own in sourcing the beginning of a story you went on to complete?

CT: I’m interested in where ideas and material comes from. I use a lot of ‘found text’ in my work. Books, magazines, manuals, photographs and visual art have all played a part in my writing. Some photographs of Victoria’s Better Farming Train were important for the writing of my first novel, Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living (Picador, 2005).

FWA: Finding Your Voice will also touch on how to approach publishers. Would you tell us a little about your own path to publication?

CT: My first novel was rejected by every major Australian publisher but then won the Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Prize and was suddenly in great demand. It went on to win a number of awards, was published internationally and is still in print. The road to publication is rarely smooth and support from writer friends can be invaluable.

FWA: What is the main thing you hope that participants in "Finding Your Voice" will take away after five weeks of work in the program?

CT: Confidence, energy and enthusiasm.

Finding Your Voice with Carrie Tiffany

Wednesdays, 11 September - 9 October, 2019

Allen & Unwin
406 Albert St
East Melbourne VIC 3002
Get directions
(Please note access is via stairs)

Spring Sale Price $ 720/$ 610 alumni