Thursday, March 5, 2009

Writing Question #1: What is Voice?

If you've been following this blog, you know that I take a shotgun approach to topic selection. I just wheel around and shoot from the hip, oftentimes clueless as to what I am really bloggin about until I'm done writing (or until a collect enough WTF's in comments).

Today is a little more focused. I just read a good post on Anita Laydon Miller's Blog about qualities of books she loves, and it boils down to: VOICE.

But my question for you is: What is Voice?

What makes it good? Bad? Ugly?

How do these elements fit in: vocabulary, grammar, syntax, rhetoric, POV, tense (past/present), and plot?


Lady Glamis said...

Wow. That's a touch question. Um, I don't know at this point. I know I've read some pretty good blog posts about voice, but I haven't bookmarked any of them. Tabwriter did a good one awhile back, I think.

Okay, I don't follow her blog anymore, but I went and looked it up for you. :)

She has a bunch of posts, but this one fit the bill for your question, I think.

A Voice Giving Us Voice

I think staying true to the voices in your head... letting them come out without being impeded by other writing elements that can get in the way is a good start to finding that voice that is YOU and belongs in your story.

Rick Daley said...

Awesome link, thanks for digging that up!

Davin Malasarn said...

I've been meaning to bring up voice in my blog, so this is great. I used to not pay attention to voice, but now the term voice is a bigger concept in my head. I think, in the end, voice is a combination of all the elements of writing combined. It's the unique combination of these elements that make up your unique voice.

Rick Daley said...


That's the term "voice" in your head, not just voices in your head, right?


Davin Malasarn said...

Davin isn't here anymore. Now you're talking to Cybil.

Anita said...

I think all the elements you listed can work together to affect voice.

I've read some really awesome books in which the writer has a very distinctive voice and somewhere within the book, they drop their voice for a page or two and it's very obvious. It's like someone on stage who's totally into the part and they go out of character for a beat or time I come across that situation, I'll let you know and give you the example.

Rick Daley said...

The actor analogy is a good way to put it, nice job Anita!