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OPTIONAL: Voice

  • How would you define "voice"?
  • How would you describe your own authorial voice? Do you know it when you see it? Is it still under construction?
  • Does "voice" matter? How much?
  • Do you try to develop your voice? Why/why not?
  • What unanswered questions do you have about voice?

Comments

So. Voice. I think voice is a little tricky. I would define voice as "how you can tell one author's writing from another". Basically. It's the way authors construct their sentences, the words they use, the phrases—it's like when you read a Vonnegut novel you KNOW it's a Vonnegut novel because he writes a certain way.

I'm...not really sure how I would describe my authorial voice. I don't really pay any attention to it. I only notice it when it's not there. So, I suppose, if I can see it when it's NOT there, I must be able to see it when it IS there. I'm not actively working on my voice or anything, but I'm sure it'll evolve in time, based on the things I read and the direction I want my writing style to go in.

Voice totally matters, to put it both bluntly and silly-ly. I keep coming back to authors because I like how they write, I like they're voice. That's how I know I'll probably like the next Margaret Atwood or Neil Gaiman book—because I know their voice and I like it.

I always thought of voice the same as style. Voice, when I first heard of the term, immediately made me think of the author speaking. It's like a dialect or an accent all author's have. Author's have their own sort of accent that most everybody understands. And in a sense, voice can refer to what the author is trying to say like in Douloti the Bountiful.

In terms of my voice, it still is definitely under construction. I see it every now in then...and it turns out to be just arbitrary thoughts that I decide to type out when really, I should just get on with the story and stop rambling over one thing. This usually happens in 1st person narratives though. When I write 3rd person narratives, I can be someone else easily although it's not always like that. It's hard to cut the connection with your characters.

And yeah, like Chelsey said. Voice does matter. It just really depends on how the author crafts it and puts it in the story. In some cases, it doesn't work very well (like my own) and in other cases, it does work well and makes a story interesting.

I agree that voice is important. No matter how interesting the events of a story are, if the way the story is told disagrees with me, I won't keep reading. I think my voice is under construction. It varies for story to story. I do think about it, in terms of style and tone, and I want to find the voice that fits for me.

I think voice is the author coming through in a story. It is what distinguishes one author from another I think more than anything. I'm not sure what my voice is, and I'm sure it is still under construction.

I think voice is very important. It establishes a mood to the writing, and it can really change the way people see the writing. I don't think it can really be worked on though. I think it needs to come out naturally and is extablished by becoming more comrfortable with writing.

voice i think can mean the author"s voice, but usually the voice is the story's or the character's. the voice has to change in order to effectively show differences in narration.
when a serious character is treated as if he's a comedian, then the serious moments aren't real. the mood has to be right for the character. if the author is uncomfortable writing in a certain style, the writing wont be very convincing. sometimes the voice is the only saving grace to a story, like Bret Easton Ellis's "American Psycho" where Bateman constantly narates about fashion and clothing and inane stuff that only his character is interested in. the comedy value of telling us things we don't want to know is a specific voice. like Chelsea said that the voice is a reason to pick up a book that you've never heard of, just because you know the author, voice can surprise us.

Like Lou, I always threw ''voice'' in the same bin as ''style'' – and as direct synonyms. But now that I have the question of how I would define it proposed to me, it seems like my classification needs a little more thought. A suggestion of personal philosophy in a given character or situation seems to be a good way to think of voice. I think of inserting voice as an author inserting a moral or a commentary in their story by whatever architectural medium they like best.

And if that's what voice is . . . I certainly have no idea what mine is when it comes to fiction. So if voice is important, I guess mine needs some work! I would like to develop my voice – but where do I start?

I agree with Kamal. Voice is something that distinguishes one author from another. It might be like style, but I don't think that those two are interchangeable, for some reason. Voice matters very much; I think it completes a book. If there was no tendency for word choice (ornate over bare-boned, poetic over standard, etc.) the book would just be flat-lined. It wouldn't be interesting at all, in my opinion. There wouldn't be a "feel" that you get from it.

As for my own voice... I think it is very much present and consistent from story to story, though I keep on trying to improve it a little each time. I suppose I kind of see it, from a writer's point of view, as that song inside my head that comes through the pen.

I'm wondering if it's possible to not have an authorial voice.

I feel like voice is an easy thing to imagine but a difficult thing to describe. It seems like a feeling carried by the words, pushing the words. It is what gives a story force.

Those things being said, they do not necessarily describe my voice, or at least as I feel it (that’s why I’m in a writing class). My own shifts, it does not carry over from story to story. Only in the way that one voice can do impressions of others do I see my voice as similar between my stories. I guess I have not yet been able to identify what my actual voice is. I do work on it though. I try different things and see how they make me feel and if I feel honest about it.

No matter which one it is, voice is in every story. Any story with words has a voice that carried in it and pushing it at the same time. Even just a few simple words, as Faulkner can prove, need to have a voice behind them- the voice tells as much of the story as the words themselves do in some cases: “My mother is a fish.?

I think voice is very important for a writer and establishing their own style. No matter what the content, i feel like the writer's voice always shines through. like grace paley has a very distinct voice that shines through all of her pieces she writes, as does james joyce, as does jd salinger, and even writers like jk rowling.

my voice? in my pieces? wow, im really working on it. i think it comes with years of writing. my voice is always changing but its got a solid root. im just working on the molding of it. maybe a little cynicism with a little depth? see, i'm working on it.

i think voice matters a lot if you are trying to create a collection of stories and make a name for yourself as a writer. if you are just writing a singular piece and then thats the end of your short lived career as a writer, than there are some more important things about voice.

id like to establish a voice to establish who i am as a writer. but hey, i'm only 19, ive got years of practice ahead of me.

Voice could be described as the trademark of authors. It makes Vonnegut Vonnegut, and Dickens Dickens.

If I have any voice, or strive for any voice it would have to be informal or conversational. It seems to find its closest analogue in British writers. Dickens and Adams employed it, and Pratchett employs it.

It seems to stem from my increasing knowledge of Latin, with their relative clauses and characteristic clauses.

I look forward to reading more. I have subscribed and will be watching for future posts from you. Thanks again for the info and keep it coming.