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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Voice

On the question of voice in writing, I've heard lots of advice:
"Channel your character." "Write a letter in the character's voice." "Read it aloud till it sounds right."
Lots of workshops, many articles, entire books devoted to that mysterious concept of Voice. But what, really, is voice in a novel or a picture book?

Honestly, I haven't really tried to figure it out, and maybe that's because I hear my characters speaking to me, and I'm afraid if I think too hard on it, they might disappear. Many sound distinctively southern, but they all sound as if they are talking. Does that make sense?

I know voice is more than that. And here is a really good explanation by a writer who knows what she's talking about. Still, I'm glad to read that it does little good to think about it while you are writing. Good to know.

Read Marion Dane Bauer's interview on Through the Tollbooth:

I don’t think we are born with our voice. It does come ...through reading and the practice of writing. I do think, however, that our voice rises up out of who we are and that it does little good to think about voice when you are writing.
Concentrate on knowing your character. Your perceiving character will impact your voice in every story even when you are writing in third person. And concentrate on writing the very best you can. Voice will simply be part of the package. You will know you have fallen into the voice that is right for you when you can feel the energy behind the words.

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