"Even though I'm telling my own personal story, the voice I use isn't my everyday speaking voice," write Sue William Silverman in her essay "Innocence and Experience: Voice in Creative Nonfiction. "In fact, my observation, both from writing essays and memoir, is that most writers employ two major voices in their work. I've defined these voices by reimagining phrases originated by William Blake, labeling one a song (or voice) of innocence, the other, a song (or voice) of experience."
Drawing on writing by Silverman, Vivian Gornick and others, University Heights writer and 2016 Creative Workforce Fellow Amy Breau kicked off Lit Cleveland's "Tell it Slant" workshop with a discussion of voice in creative nonfiction. Then she asked the 15 participants to complete a writing exercise where they experimented with using the voices of innocence and experience in their own work.
Essayist and journalist Sharon Holbrook led participants in a helpful discussion of the tools and tricks of revision. Then they practiced revising an unfinished essay by an individual who is in a writers' group with Holbrook.