Monday, 12 May 2008

Voice? VOICE!

Er, so about VOICE...

In my present forced abstinence from my darling finished WIP, I'm writing the new WIP (taking my time about it, to be sure) and researching the f/u to my darling finished WIP. And then I read about voice. 

Which begs the question -- voice? Do I have it? 

In the present WIP I do. It's a very distinct, very voluble voice. But my darling finished? Holy cow, I dunno! One would think so, simply because of the fact that I managed to finish it. But in this case, I really don't know. 

And because I'm NOT checking out the WIP until the 22 of May, I won't find out until then. 

Does your WIP have voice? Do you have a particular voice? 


cindy said...

i hope mine does! every good story should--but i don't know what or how it's like. =X i'm too close to the prose. even when reading other people's books, i don't notice voice so much. i just know when i'm not drawn in and am not interested in how they tell their story.

Heidi said...

I've been very interested in the idea of voice lately. My new WIP has a very strong voice, mostly because I was afraid my first one was a bit weak in that area. Instead of third person omniscient I picked first person, with an uneducated, Texas accent. Strong voice, to be sure.

But the first one? I dunno, either! There are some books written with a strong "voice," which means, I think, that the narration is noticeable. And I don't think all narration needs to be noticeable.

Someone on one of the agent blogs last week (I think it was BookEnds) commented that to say something had a good voice merely meant that it was written well. I have a tendency to agree. And I think my definition of "voice" is not the same as the way agents talk about it.

There are some books known for their voice (i.e. P. Wood's Lottery, or any of the Series of Unfortunate Events), but there are some well written stories, great characters and plots, told in third person, in which the "narrator" is unknown, undefined, and has no real character (or what I would call "voice").

While much is being made of Voice lately, it is a hazy concept, and not well defined even by those who use it: sort of the "I know it when I see it" syndrome.

I also think sometimes it is mixed with the tone of a story. If the story is thrilling, or sad, or funny, we tend to identify that as voice, even though it's mostly just the tone.

My current position is: use it if you've well defined it. If you aren't telling your story from a particular point of view,though, think about how you want the reader to feel as they are reading it, and then just write well to achieve that.

Of course, I'm no expert. I'll be interested to see what others think.