It can be argued that speeches are not strictly a literary genre, however a speechwriter requires the same writing skills and experience in formulating a well structured and informative speech for a diverse range of people as a non-fiction author covering a specific topic.
The definition is: a speechwriter is someone hired to prepare and write speeches that will be delivered by another person. They are employed by a variety of people, such as senior-level elected officials and executives in the government as well as in the private sector. They can also be employed to write for weddings and other social occasions. Speechwriters specialize in a writing style that merges marketing, theater, public relations, sales, education and politics all in one presentation.
The actual process of writing a speech has several steps. Initially, they need to meet with the executive and the executive’s senior staff to determine the broad framework of points or messages that the executive wants to cover in the speech. With this information they will then research the topic to flesh out this framework with anecdotes and examples. They must also consider the audience for the speech, which can range from a town-hall meeting of community leaders to an international leaders’ forum. Once this framework is created, the speechwriter blends the points, themes, positions, and messages from their research to create an “informative, original and authentic speech” for the executive. This draft is then presented to the client and the executive (or the executive’s staff) make notes, revisions or changes to it. If the speechwriter is familiar with the topic and the positions and style of the executive, only small changes may be required.
Credit for speeches is mainly contributed to the person making it rather than the speechwriter, much like a ghost writer. Their name may never appear in public or a credit given on paper. However, a good speechwriter will be known for their work in select circles, such as in a government setting.
Have you written speeches? Was it for a person setting or for a client?
I came across this article today and it resonated with me. We all aspire to become an excellent writer and hold famed authors up in our esteem as the ‘perfect’ writer or writers. However, not every work they produce is ‘perfect’. This not only shocks us but also gives us solace in the knowledge, even our heroes can fail. I have found a decrease in quality to be most prevalent in long sagas or series. Does the author become disillusioned or bored with the stories? A seven book deal may sound wonderful at the inception but by book five, is it still enjoyable?
As I was interviewed yesterday I left the word of the day off my post so we can look at two words today.
Rhetoric – definition: the art of using language skillfully
English: Cobbe portrait, claimed to be a portrait of William Shakespeare done while he was alive Lëtzebuergesch: Uelegporträt vum William Shakespeare am Alter vu 46 Joer, gemoolt 1610 zu Liefzäite vum Dichter, haut am Besëtz vum Konschtrestaurator Alec Cobbe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We all endeavor to be skillful with our words when writing, whether it is fiction, poetry or non-fiction. Conveying an idea or an image in as few words as possible is certainly an art. Such as, instead of using ‘the sky was pink in color as if made of candyfloss’ we can just say ‘ the sky was blush’. Our readers will have the same image with either one but the second sentence is tighter. The art of writing has changed over the decades as our world has altered from polite conversation over afternoon tea to the rushed technological conversation we now experience. Language, I believe, has suffered as we endeavor to ‘text speak‘ in the belief it is allowing us more ‘time’. However, how much true understanding and emotion are we loosing by shortening everything into acronyms? These are open to misinterpretation not only as the actual ‘letters’ may be misunderstood as to their meaning but also without inflection of any kind the messages can convey the exact opposite response than was meant.
Obviously we can not speak like William Shakespeare all day long, although I know a few people who would love that! However, communicating with wonderful language evokes an emotional response from whoever is listening. Will we ultimately loose verbal language to text speak and only experience proper language through the written form? I certainly hope not although there have been documented instances of the youth of today compiling exam papers purely in acronyms and worse still thinking it was perfectly acceptable. I have to count myself lucky to have a 17 year daughter who loves Shakespeare and reads excessively.
Prescience – definition: knowledge or awareness of a thing before they exist or happen
We have all experienced déjà vu at one time or another. There are many trains of thought as to what this phenomenon actually is but to have foresight is rather a different thing all together. Maybe it is a person’s ability to gauge the emotional, physical and spiritual atmosphere around them that gives them this awareness? There are many old tales of an elder able to predict when a storm was coming as they ‘could feel it in their bones’ or they knew the sex of a baby prior to the birth. With the knowledge that the human brain is not used to its full capacity, could it be that we all have some capability of prescience?
There have been movies made, such as Foresight and Premonition, that use this phenomenon to good effect. How would it feel, though, to actually ‘see’ the future? Would you want to? As a young girl I foolishly agreed to be part of a wigi board reading in the art room of my secondary school. The metal window frames were almost impossible to open and close with a struggle as they had layers of paint on them and each window had a heavy blackout blind on it. We closed all the windows, drew the blinds and sat in a circle. There was a lot of giggling and messing about until the pointer moved! Suffice to say we all stopped laughing. One friend became very tense, then fainted. When she woke up she was absolutely convinced she has seen her father die. A very frightening experience and one I will never repeat. My friend kept waiting for her father to look as old as he had in her vision…how horrid is that? I don’t think it is beneficial to know our future – let’s enjoy the here and now.
Do you have a foresight experience you would care to share?