Friday, August 22, 2008

Voice in the wilderness...

I was talking with a writer friend today about voice. She was experiencing difficulties with 'voice' in her novel and was wanting to discuss ways to deal with this. I have to confess my mind went blank. I don't make conscious decisions about voice. I couldn't even really say what voice is. Perhaps it's the 'style' or 'tone' of the writing. It should be a seamless part of the whole, almost a character itself, the character of the story. I don't think about it as a separate entity before I begin or as I go along. I consider my characters and the events that sweep them along and I suspect that the voice grows naturally out of the way I think about those things. Those considerations influence the tone of the setting, the dialogue, and how the characters respond. I write to show I care about the characters and the journey they are on and perhaps this comes through as voice and hopefully compels the reader to see what happens next. I suspect if I thought about it too much it would show. Is voice something we only notice if it isn't there? I don't know.

2 comments:

The Scarlet Tree said...

Yes I suppose so, but I think that maybe it is something more noticable when a character has a particularily strong voice like Raymond Chandler's detective Philip Marlowe. The whole idea of character voice became much clearer to me after I read Chandler's 'The Big Sleep' But as far as my writing goes, I'm not aware of it unless I start to hear it in the text when I read it back to myself.

Melinda said...

I think you're right. My last few novels have been written in first person, and the voice is very strong, but I guess the association between the character and their voice is inseparable and writing it is just about bringing that character alive. Maybe I'm cheating this way because i find it hard to break away from the first person voice now! I will have to challenge myself in my next novel.