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Queries and Agents => Literary Agents => Topic started by: writestuff56 on March 21, 2011, 10:24:57 AM

Title: A Unique "Voice"
Post by: writestuff56 on March 21, 2011, 10:24:57 AM
This phrase is thrown around a lot. I feel like it can have so many different meanings... A writing style that draws you in immediately....A point of view that's compelling...A way of storytelling that's different from other authors out there...Your take on the story in general....A rhythm/pattern to your writing that's interesting and special...and so forth

How would you all suggest I narrow the meaning down to one main definition? I want to make sure I get my "voice" right. Kind of hard to do when I feel like it can mean so many different things....

What do you think an agent would say is the definition of VOICE? I've read tons of agent blogs and I don't see this topic on there much. Maybe voice is one of those things that's just so subjective and hard to pinpoint, they simply know it when they see it but other than that, it's hard to describe.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: A Unique "Voice"
Post by: QuietWriter on March 21, 2011, 10:36:56 AM
All in all, it's how the story is told. Voice isn't as tricky to define as you might think. Your writing voice encompasses everything--the rhythm, the language, the tone of the story. Think of it this way: different people could all orally tell you the same story. They could all have the exact same series of events and people involved, but the differences lie in how they tell the story. Someone might be more formal. Another might be humorous. That's voice. In writing, it's just how that storytelling comes across on paper. I hope that helps.
Title: Re: A Unique "Voice"
Post by: Duff on March 21, 2011, 12:51:03 PM
I define it as how the narrator speaks to the reader. Like Magpie said, 10 people would tell the same story differently--different words, different sentence lengths--different gestures, if you could see them. If you picture the narrator telling the story in person, or over the phone, it's a lot easier to grasp his/her 'voice'.

That's probably why some instructors will tell you to set a place for your narrator at the dinner table and have a chat with him/her, get him/her to tell you the story.
Title: Re: A Unique "Voice"
Post by: Magic_Seeker on March 21, 2011, 01:00:45 PM
"Voice" is another way to describe your writing style, including how you portray your characters' reactions and inner thoughts.

I believe you can't force voice into your work, but you can develop it and bring it out.  Trying to force it makes your writing feel ... forced.  ( :emb: My inner thesaurus is on strike.)
Title: Re: A Unique "Voice"
Post by: Sandbox on March 21, 2011, 02:02:46 PM
Agree with the others on this. But to me it also means that the writing rings true and there is little distance between the character's thoughts/motivations/actions and what you put down on paper, if that makes sense.

You can't fake voice. It has to be genuine. And I believe you either have it or you don't. But I also believe you can improve by practicing the craft.

SB
Title: Re: A Unique "Voice"
Post by: LisaAnn on March 21, 2011, 04:17:02 PM
I agree with Sandbox that you can improve your voice by practicing the craft.  Reading the works of others definitely helps too, but you want to make sure you read enough that you don't just become a copy-cat morph of one or two authors.  But study everything.  Dialogue, descriptions, blocking, beats...  And the more you read (and practice!), the better your voice will become--which is why we usually hate the first few chapters of our books as soon as we finish them.  Our voice evolves even in the duration of a single manuscript.   :wink:
Title: Re: A Unique "Voice"
Post by: JeanneG on March 21, 2011, 04:21:02 PM
I also think a writer who has a strong voice is distinguishable from every other writer. In other words, if you picked up his or her work without his or her name on it, you would immediately recognize the author. Think about some of the "greats." They sound like no one else.

That is "voice." And it shines through, no matter what the genre.

JeanneG
Title: Re: A Unique "Voice"
Post by: writestuff56 on March 22, 2011, 09:44:33 AM
Thanks everybody for your feedback....sounds like everyone is pretty much in agreement.

Magpie--great way of phrasing it...That several people could tell the same story but how mine is told = the voice