|Photo credit: jjpacres on Flickr|
So now that we’ve thoroughly covered character voice and how to make them talk, it’s time we switch gears to the other aspect of voice that is key to novel-writing.
Remember the About.com definition? Just in case you need a refresher, here it is:
"Voice is the author's style, the quality that makes his or her writing unique, and which conveys the author's attitude, personality, and character."
It may only be one sentence, but that covers a lot of ground right there: writing that reflects the author’s attitude, personality and character. All three, just in the way sentences are strung together, words are chosen and paragraphs are formed. But how?
Let’s move away from writing for a moment and think about the way people speak. Even with body language and the tenor and volume of voice stripped out, if you overheard a conversation I’m willing to bet you’d probably still be able to pick out differences. Why? Because we all speak differently. Some of us prefer to use more unusual vocabulary while others rely on everyday slang. Some people speak eloquently and could go on for hours without pause, while still others prefer short, abrupt sentences.
Guess what? Author voice is the same way.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you can probably tell that I like brevity. I aim for short paragraphs and occasionally throw in one or two-word sentence fragments just because I can. Like this. I take a conversationalist tone because this is my blog and it flows naturally that way. If you looked at any of my WIPs, you’d probably see similar themes.
Especially the short paragraphs. I love short paragraphs.
Read someone else’s blog and you’d find different patterns, because they have a different voice—and it works the same way with books, too. J.K. Rowling’s novels read differently than, say, William Faulkner’s. Likewise, no one will ever mistake Shakespeare’s writing for anyone else and I’m sure you could pick out your favorite author’s voice in a heartbeat.
If you write even once in a while, you have a writer’s voice. It may not be developed to a point of consistency yet, but it’s there.
And we’ll talk about nurturing it on Monday.
Naturally your favorite author voices are likely going to be from your favorite authors, so let’s hear them! Who are your favorite authors? Mine are Ted Dekker, J.K. Rowling and Eoin Colfer. Share yours!