Something about my voice


And Foul,

Not to mention too smart for my own good.

Yeah, that’s my “voice” as best as I can describe it.  The first time someone told me I had a “strong voice”, I had no idea what they were talking about. And after doing some research I discovered that there are a lot of definitions out there such as:

Writer’s voice is the literary term used to describe the individual writing style of an author. Voice was generally considered to be a combination of a writer’s use of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text (or across several works). Voice can be thought of in terms of the uniqueness of a musical voice. As a trumpet has a different voice than a tuba or a violin has a different voice than a cello, so the words of one author have a different sound than the words of another. One author may have a voice that is light and fast paced while another may have a dark voice.

Okay, so basically everything I do while I write, right?

Not very helpful, at all.

Swing and miss….

How about this:

Voice is the sum of all strategies used by the author to create the illusion that the writer is speaking directly to the reader from the page.”
(Don Fry, quoted by Roy P. Clark, Writing Tools, 2006)

That sort of only works in first person, where there is not fourth wall between reader and writer. Fine if the MC is narrating his own story, but does have it’s problems. What about the more common 3rd person pov? I mean we are talking about the writer’s voice, which may or may not be the characters. You know the overall voice of the piece and not of anyone part of it. Not mention that different genre’s demand change in tone, thus creating variations in the voice. As Donna points out on this post it can be jarring when an adult writer creates a teenage character that doesn’t sound like one (too adult, or too dumb, or to cliche).

This just a guess but I think it has to do with how all those elements mentioned above resonate in the reader’s mind. As writer’s we might have an inkling of what our voice is, or should be but to be honest it so complicated and so objective, that only reader can tell if they find the voice pleasing, strong, weak, dissonant, etc. It’s like listening to music. Some people can rock all night long to industrial trash metal, but no me. I like my vocal trance, with side order of classic music and acid jazz. I know what I like when hear it, and so do you. Same thing with with a writer’s voice. Because it’s not what is written on the page, but how it sounds in our heads that matter.  Sure, you tweak it. Practice doesn’t hurt. But at the end of the day, it’s subjective.

So, what is your definition of voice?

And what sets apart your voice from others?


Reminder: 1k Words BlogFest

Take a picture, any picture (preferably one you own or is in the public domain) and post it to your blog. Then write a short story/account based on the picture you posted. The story must be a thousand words or less (hence the name). Once posted, link back to this post.

BlogFest kicks off on February 22, 2010

We already have two peeps who have signed on, we are just waiting for you to join us.

C.R. Ward

Janna Qualman


Talking about music, I leave you with the chillout tunes of Arnej:

2 comments on “Something about my voice

  1. Voice is very hard to define. But I do think it’s one aspect of writing that should happen naturally. If one strives for a certain voice it nearly always ends up sounding artificial.


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