In the recently published How Fiction Works, James Woods provides many insights that will make you a better reader and writer of fiction. Worth your time, though be forewarned: his home library may be a bit deeper than yours and he seemingly thinks nobody ever got things better than Flaubert.
That aside, I was fascinated by his discussion of consistency, credibility and voice of narrator and characters in exposition. Particularly his comments on the reliability of the narrator and the importance of having the narrator’s voice maintaining some consistency or corelevance with the language and sensibilities of characters.
All of which is a long route to: when I write in the “voice” of a letter’s signer, I never try to mimic and very rarely try to pick up characteristic phrasing, which can sound forced and signal “false.” For one thing, that can lead to talking like the organization. Something about apery forces formality.
Instead I seek the language and message of the mission — the “voice of the mission” as it were. Then overlay the fervor of that mission’s leader … which can be more fervent (and conversational) than I hear from anyone in the client organization itself.
Which is not to say that ngo ceos aren’t fervent. Most are very enthusiastic and exceptionally articulate. (Though a second-tier person is sometimes yet more of both.)
It’s just that my own phrasing, pumped full of fervor, spewing out with enthusiasm, can actually grant greater verisimilitude of that individual.
More important, it can be more effective than trying to take on that person’s skin. Because I at this point am subconsciously structuring the communication to be effective, asking early and often, building intensity, and other methods of making this wholly nonfiction communication do its job.