Everything these days has a footprint:
Footprints in the Sand
Starting to sound like a Top 10 :)
Today I'm talking about footprints on our manuscripts. Not the Arf and Woof kind when that stack of pages fell on the floor, but our own footprints pressed onto the pages by our words.
An editor says, "I need a story about a boy and his dog." One writer produces Clifford the Big Red Dog. Another, Old Yeller.
If the editor handed each of those writers the other's manuscript and said, "Something's missing here. Fix it," imagine how different each of those books would be.
Our footprints are beyond voice. They are everything we bring to the table. Our experiences. Our loves, our hates. Our personal points of view. Even when we write in the viewpoints of our characters, we are still the writers of our stories. It's possible to blur our footprints, especially if we're writing to strict guidelines or in deep point of view; but in my opinion, it's impossible to hide them.
Don't believe me? Ask ten people to complete a sentence, or even to fill in more than one blank in a sentence. You will not receive ten identical answers.
Unless you ask ten of your neighbors to fill in the blank of I live in (city, state). Or something similar.
But you knew what I meant.