Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When Will the Voices End?!

I know I've done waaaayy too many posts on voice, but I found this post on BookEnds fascinating and had to share (also, I am waaaayy too tired to make up a post on my own:

Voice occurs through word choice. Your vocabulary isn’t limited, but the words you choose to use more often than not are. Soda versus pop? Where you live, your background, and your experiences determine your voice. They all come together to determine who you are, and how your words will sound on paper.
I think this sums up voice nicely. At it's base, voice is just the selection of words. However, there's a difference between a boring voice and an intriguing one...

So, how do you get a handle on voice? You begin to look for it. You analyze yourself and your writing. Is your voice active or passive? Do you love adverbs? Adjectives? Prepositional phrases? Pronouns? Look for what makes your writing work—that unique element in the paragraph you really love. Then you eliminate the stuff you overuse or that makes your prose sound flat.
Again, a basic. To me, at this point in my writing, voice comes in steps. Get the words on the paper (step one, what Dunway just describes as word choice). Then, edit (step two, what she's describing here).
Just as your fingerprints are original, so should be your voice. Write what you love, characters you can love, and your readers will love you. Your voice is what sets you apart from everyone else; it’s what adds that special sparkle to writing that editors are looking for when authors recycle the same basic plots over and over. I mean, what makes your amnesiac bride with the cowboy’s secret baby unique? It’s the way you tell the story, and the way you make your plot come alive through your voice.
And this is why I think that voice cannot be taught. It's part of your personality.
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