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View Full Version : Where do you look to find (or refind) your "voice"?



Blondchen
06-05-2008, 09:17 AM
It changes, of course, from work to work. Or maybe not.

But when you feel like you've lost it, where you do turn? Author? Actor? Band? Composer? Who helps you find it when you are lost?

Mine's totally ridiculous, because I write harmless romantic comedy Chick Lit, but whenever I read Anthony Bourdain, I find it!

GJB
06-05-2008, 10:06 AM
Usually in the shower, sometimes when I read out loud, once in a while on a long walk. When none of those work, I talk into a glass, or if I don't have a glass, into my cupped hands.

This "voice" thing has driven me to distraction, like what are you gatekeepers all talking about? Whatever the voice is or is not, it changes. It better change or what we write will be soooo boring, change from character to character, event to mood, to time of day. My own personal definition of the counfounding thing: the particular way each of us arranges words out of the billions of possible combinations. And if, more than not, the arrangement makes the reader keep reading, it's a good voice. That's all I know. Done. g.

Blondchen
06-05-2008, 10:11 AM
Usually in the shower, sometimes when I read out loud, once in a while on a long walk. When none of those work, I talk into a glass, or if I don't have a glass, into my cupped hands.

This "voice" thing has driven me to distraction, like what are you gatekeepers all talking about? Whatever the voice is or is not, it changes. It better change or what we write will be soooo boring, change from character to character, event to mood, to time of day. My own personal definition of the counfounding thing: the particular way each of us arranges words out of the billions of possible combinations. And if, more than not, the arrangement makes the reader keep reading, it's a good voice. That's all I know. Done. g.

Rack him.

:)

scottVee
06-05-2008, 01:07 PM
If my voice gets hazy, reading always brings it back with a vengeance. As Blondchen suggests, it doesn't even have to be reading even vaguely related to what I write.

tehuti88
06-05-2008, 04:48 PM
I honestly can't even think of losing my voice. It just seems like an impossible concept to me. :/ I'm not saying it can't happen, but it's something I really can't comprehend at the moment. For me to say I've lost my writing voice would be almost like saying I've lost my speaking voice or forgotten how to talk. Until it happens, I really wouldn't know what it's like.

And since that's so, I'd have no clue how to get it back! All I can do is just write.

THAT being said, I think it took me quite a while to FIND my voice in the first place. I've been writing since around age eleven, back in the late Eighties, but I look back on older writing that I thought was good and it's so bleh. It was very spare and lacking in details and my POV always went all over the place. Then I found that gradually, more details began to work their way in, and POV became much more settled, and I also settled on a type of humor and narration, etc. This seemed to occur during my current serial-writing phase, maybe around 2003 or so, because I look back on writing from around that long ago and it doesn't make me cringe as badly as the other stuff...it seems almost passable for today's writing.

steveg144
06-05-2008, 10:43 PM
Go out on the deck and ready my work out loud. Works every time. If it's off, I will soon react "Hey, that sure ain't right!" and I'll know what I have to do to fix it.

Shadow_Ferret
06-05-2008, 10:50 PM
My writer's voice has been with me since almost day one. In fact, I can't NOT make my voice go away. I used to have an instructor when I took a Writing in the Humanities course who complained that she could hear my voice in everything I wrote.

tehuti88
06-06-2008, 12:45 AM
I used to have an instructor when I took a Writing in the Humanities course who complained that she could hear my voice in everything I wrote.

That's something I kind of hope for, myself. I'd like people to be able to read something of mine without my name or any specifics on it and be able to tell that it came from me. (Some people might not like that thought, but it appeals to me personally.)

jannawrites
06-06-2008, 06:48 AM
If my voice gets hazy, reading always brings it back with a vengeance. As Blondchen suggests, it doesn't even have to be reading even vaguely related to what I write.

I agree!

I just read the most beautifully-prosed novel. At first, I kept thinking I should take measures to explain and "show" more masterfully like the author did... but then, in pulling my own work back up, I realized my voice is still speaking loudly, with its own beauty.

Joycecwilliams
06-06-2008, 07:15 AM
It changes, of course, from work to work. Or maybe not.

But when you feel like you've lost it, where you do turn? Author? Actor? Band? Composer? Who helps you find it when you are lost?

Mine's totally ridiculous, because I write harmless romantic comedy Chick Lit, but whenever I read Anthony Bourdain, I find it!

I have a couple exercises that were in a book I read on writing and finding your voice. I found these helpful.

#1. Write your story in words of one syllable (except for proper names) This sounds easy... by try finding a substitute for substitute... :) it really makes you write different.

#2. Write the nasty letter you can to someone... it can just be a fictional character but get really carried away with it..

For example:

Dear Loan Shark...

I'm surprized you can breathe out of the scum water you live in.. etc....



Good luck

Kalyke
06-06-2008, 05:15 PM
I think you lose your voice when you try to write like another writer. I think many writers have been "guilty" of falling in love with a writer or style that was not their own and "copying" it. When you start writing and say you want to write just like (for example) Steven King, and pretty much learn the style to the point where you have no style of your own. (Voice is everything in writing that makes your work, your work-- I know it is not only "style."

Editing everything slightly personal or unique to your writing will also kill your voice. Editing mavens and school teachers who are so restrictive about what makes good writing often are simply trying to funnel everyone into a homogeneous style, and squeeze out every drop of creativity and personality. People who try to scare you into getting rid of all adjectives, or only writing three sentences per paragraph or something like that when it is not something you do naturally are very good at "killing voices." One reason I don't really like genre fiction is that each of those authors have been dictated to about how to write in such a way that you are more an employee of the publishing company (unpaid of course) than your own author. It's easier to all write like Dean Koontz or Dan Brown and get paid than write like (insert your name) and remain a wanna-be. Of course, genre fiction was always writing for money rather than writing a story using your own skills.

Virector
06-07-2008, 04:19 AM
I listen to music- I just grab my mp3 player, set it to shuffle and I just listen. This has an incredible effect on my imagination and helps me find my voice everytime!

wrinkles
06-07-2008, 06:24 AM
Editing mavens and school teachers who are so restrictive about what makes good writing often are simply trying to funnel everyone into a homogeneous style, and squeeze out every drop of creativity and personality. People who try to scare you into getting rid of all adjectives, or only writing three sentences per paragraph or something like that when it is not something you do naturally are very good at "killing voices." One reason I don't really like genre fiction is that each of those authors have been dictated to about how to write in such a way that you are more an employee of the publishing company (unpaid of course) than your own author. It's easier to all write like Dean Koontz or Dan Brown and get paid than write like (insert your name) and remain a wanna-be. Of course, genre fiction was always writing for money rather than writing a story using your own skills.

You truly make some bizarre statements.