Thursday, October 31, 2013

Voice--how do you get it in fiction--or get them?

Editors and agents are always talking about VOICE...They want new and distinct voices. They are looking for them. So what does that mean? Here's what I think--today.

When people talk about voice they're usually talking about the way writers use language. That includes everything--the way they punctuate, the rhythm of their sentences, paragraphing, diction and so on. It also includes their particular way of looking at the world which is very important. (more on this in a moment). And the way the narrator of a particular piece is looking at the world.

I think some writers have very strong voices. See Bradley Cooper's imitations of actors below for actors who have strong voices. No matter what John Wayne is in--there's his particular way of speaking in every line. Other actors' voices change depending on the role. I think the same is true of writers. Some writers have very strong voices and others may be strong but change according to what they're writing.

Bradley Cooper's imitations of other actors--in the way some actors have distinct voices some writers do.

SO, in a sense, there are two voices at work in most works of fiction--the author's voice and the voice of the narrator of the particular story. Sometimes the particular character of a piece is strong enough to strongly influence the voice of the writer. Elmore Leonard once said that he let's his character's speak and if they don't say interesting things in interesting ways he kills them off. He's a writer with a strong style/voice but every character still has his or her own voice, too.

Given that this is true--I think the article linked below has much to say about voice but the most important point to me is that a writer allow him or herself to say things in his or her unique way. This is the one thing that you, as a writer, bring to writing that no one else has ever brought before. YOU. YOUR WAY OF SEEING THINGS. By allowing yourself the freedom to speak through the voice inspired by your way of seeing you'll find your voice. By digging deep into the narrator of your story you'll combine his/her voice with your own. If you have a unique voice it can really make your fiction stand out.

"You can facilitate voice by giving yourself the freedom to say things in your own unique way. You do not talk exactly like anyone else, right? Why should you write like everyone else?" Donald Maass, agent
Here's the whole article...

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