Writing Voice

Discussion in 'General Writing' started by arron89, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. XRD_author

    XRD_author Banned Supporter

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    A lot of the books I've read on writing talk about voice but the honest ones admit they can't really define it, they just know it when they see it. So if the first assignment in a writing course was "describe your voice," I'd question whether the people who put the course together were competent.

    It'd make more sense for a course to help you find your voice, rather than making you say what it is at the start.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
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  2. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    It can take a while to find your voice. It's something that emerges with time and practice. I think your teacher is probably just looking for how you feel your work and a sense of where you are in your writing journey. It's not really a question with a wrong answer.
     
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  3. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ditto BayView and jannert. The one thing most guaranteed to kill your natural writing voice is focusing upon it too much.

    I don't think any new writer has ever discovered their voice by trying to establish it. Your voice comes through when you stop having to focus on the mechanics of writing and begin writing as you feel. That requires a degree of comfort and relaxing into the writing role.

    Analyzing that voice is at least as unnatural as spontaneously deciding to describe yourself while staring into a mirror. It just don't flow, Joe!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
  4. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It's certainly not a great way to start a beginner writer, is it? I suppose the OP could be cheeky and describe it as "silent"—at least for now.
     
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  5. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, I would wonder if these course-writing people know what they're doing too. As for your literary voice. Same as your voice. If you're false to yourself your stories will sound false. For example: My literary voice is one that says, "I think I'm full of shit, I think you're full of shit too. Now let's see if I can make you smile?" Thanks in large part to help I've received on this board, I'm starting to get comfortable with that.
     
  6. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    The voice is the emotional wave that carries the story. That wave is shaped by the author's writing craft. He's like a sieve for the characters/story. Only certain elements get through. He does this almost without thinking because it's just who he is. When you read the author's story, you get a sense for who he is too. Cormac McCarthy is a dark poet, Terry Pratchett's a witty scoundrel, and Rousseau is a naked hippie climbing a tree. The character's have a voice too, but really they're just carefully selected facets of author.

    The quickest way to kill your voice is through word clutter. Your voice appears when the sentence is invisible. The reader hears the voice/characters/plot rather than the mechanics of the words. It's not so much that you're writing with a minimum numbers of words, but more that every word pulls a specific weight. Crush everything useless in the sentence and what's left will carry your voice. The trick to finding your voice is that you must first be competent with the sentence. And that's easier said than done.
     
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  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    This sounds more like a description of a class of voices, maybe the class of voices that you like. Someone's voice might well BE cluttered, or, in the words of people who like those voices, highly ornamented or ornate or baroque.
     
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  8. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    Say that you're deaf.

    Well, unless you're writer voice isn't witty.
     
  9. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    You skipped this line.
    This isn't about density of description, it's about textual cellulite.
     
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  10. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I read that line. You still seem to be describing voices that you like.
     
  11. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    I give up. Goodbye.
     
  12. paperbackwriter

    paperbackwriter Banned Contributor

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    It might be similar to my writing "voice" but.....
    when i see someone else saying it sure sounds depressing. i mean why would even bother reading your work if you have such an attitude.
     
  13. paperbackwriter

    paperbackwriter Banned Contributor

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    btw
    i was advised already on this forum to " find my own writing voice." Such advice can make us too self conscious imo.
    Now Id say ......let my own writing voice find itself.
     
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  14. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Contributor Contributor

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    Because (I hope) it's entertaining.
     
  15. rincewind31

    rincewind31 Active Member

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    Just write, 'Mind your own business,' and send that in.
     
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  16. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    I would describe mine as, sarcasm, with superfluous commas.
     
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  17. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    This definitely. I once tried to write a second draft of a novel back in the early 2000's to sound like Nabokov. Groan. Huge mistake! It is so cringe-inducing, and such rubbish the only reason I don't send the file to recycling is punishment to remind myself how bad I can write when I try to sound like something I'm not.
    I've found since then that writing short stories helped me to find my voice because they were many little works - polished and finished that helped show me what always lay hidden in my novels. I like eclectic things but no matter how out there I get there's a strange upbeat vibe running through my work. It's sometimes much harder to spot your style in novels if there isn't that many of them or there's a huge difference in your ability. You might overlook your voice for well, I'm just getting better at my craft.
    Look over your collection of writing and examine your tone, descriptions, plots, themes for clues and find the patterns.
     
  18. Desire2write

    Desire2write New Member

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    That sounds great advice. Thank you
     
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  19. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Contributor Contributor

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    I haven't read all writings in this thread so I don't know has anyone said this, but...

    All of your writing is usually not written in your writing voice. So you must first seek for that text that is.

    1. Self reflect both your thinking and speaking. Pay attention to structural elements, style and "genres" in your thinking.

    2. Read your own writing aloud.

    3. Listen to your emotions. Does that writing feel like your own? Do you recognise the emotional style and the social aspects in it as your own.

    4. If you do, you have found your writing sound. Listen to it. It's not your writing voice, but it is the sound of that voice.

    5. Tell yourself what sounds familiar and your own. Tell it with the same voice that sounds familiar.

    6. If your description sounds your own voice, you have succeeded. If not, go to number one and start again.

    Describing your own voice starts from recognising it. Recognising it starts from self reflection.

    That you can do only if you are truthful to yourself.

    (This is absolutely my way of thinking and writing. So I can be sure I can find my writing voice in this writing. Style and genre less, structural elements a lot. Style... Yes in this genre. Genre... Not what I love, but something I do a lot.)

    7. Rewrite your description until all of it sounds like your thinking.
     

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