Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why Different Voices Make a Song

Currently reading - Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer

Writer's voice is one of those things no one can really teach you. It's there or it isn't.

So what is writer's voice? I think it's a combination of background, experiences and tastes that cause the lovely, little right hemisphere of your brain to choose words, sentence structure and rhythm into a particular cadence.

Let's take my critique partners for instance. If you had a chapter from Christie and a chapter from me, you might say they're both funny. But the type of humor we each use is completely different. Christie has this down-home, Alabama, situational comedy flavor. Mine is more urban attitude snarkalicious. It's about the same as comparing The Andy Griffith Show and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Part of being a good c.p. is knowing when to leave your partner's voice alone. Faye sent back the first pages of AVT. She's very good about making her point without re-writing my story. I've had lots of other c.p.'s who'd rewrite whole chapters to the point where my story didn't sound like me any more.

So if you've found your voice, congratulations! You've conquered half the battle of making your work stand out.

If you haven't, stop for a moment. Are you trying to emulate someone? Nora? Stephen? Neil? Stop doing that! Now! Listen to your gut and follow it to your real voice. You won't be disappointed. I promise.


  1. Love your description of voice.


  2. I've been told my voice is good (while other things need work) but I have also gotten crits back and know if I made the changes it would kill the voice.

    My 4th novel was when I really figured out what voice meant because I kept putting some of the narration in () and one of my crit said at the begginning of the chapter "Why are you putting so many things in parenthesis?" and then at the end she just said "Forget what I said, I think its part of your voice"

    But it honestly came from some crazy place in my brain and I wasn't even aware of it.

  3. Hey CC!

    Hope your feeling better today!

  4. Julie, I've read your query and sample pages. You've got a very distinctive voice!

    To everybody else, you can check out pages of Diary of a Hot Pink Party Girl at Julie's blog. Julie's a terrific writer!

  5. Suzan,

    Thanks for the nice feedback on my blog and the mention here.

    Let me know if your serious about reading a couple chapters of Party Girl. I'm always up for an exchange :)