cover image Voice First: A Writer’s Manifesto

Voice First: A Writer’s Manifesto

Sonya Huber. Univ. of Nebraska, $23.95 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-49623-131-4

“I’ve decided to reclaim the term voice, give it a plural, and use it as a tool in the service of writing,” asserts essayist Huber (Supremely Tiny Acts: A Memoir of a Day) in this solid guide. The core of her approach is that rather than perfecting one “authentic” voice, one must be open to shifts “as the writer’s life spurs change and perspectives evolve.” In “Mind Is the Source of Voice,” Huber makes a case that it can be powerful when a narrator changes their mind midway through a story, writing that “our thoughts and even our beliefs are complex and sometimes contradictory, which is good news.” “Detail Is the Seed of Voice” looks at how one’s perspective comes out in choosing what to home in on while writing descriptions, and “Voices with Fire” makes a case that “writing about things that make us angry... can help change the world.” Alongside Huber’s sharp personal reflections come prompts for readers looking to get the pen moving: “Describe the environment inside your head right now. If it were a setting and we could see it, what would it look like?” It adds up to a great resource—writers of all strokes will appreciate this spirited look at the craft. (Sept.)