Trouble With Voice?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
When you listen to editors or agents talk at a conference, they will almost always say they are looking for a unique voice. They can't tell you what that voice is or how to put it in your writing, but they know it when they read it. Well, that's not very helpful, is it?

You probably can tell, too, if your voice is working in your story or novel. Sometimes, it's like the character is actually typing her own story on the keyboard. Other times, you feel like you are are an encyclopedia or a news reporter, telling the story. So, what do you do?

One exercise that I have found works for me is writing a letter or diary entry from my character. This is a simple exercise that takes just a little time, but it can help you find your voice. All you do is decide if you want to write a letter or a diary entry. Then you write in the voice of your character--you are not worrying about sentence structure or punctuation or plot. You are worrying about being your character. Sometimes, using a pen and paper works better than your computer for this exercise, but that choice is entirely up to you or your character.

When you are finished with this piece, read it. Read it often. Get the feel for your character's voice. Then, go back to work on your novel or story.

Try it if you are having trouble with voice. You may be that next unique voice someone is looking for, and you don't want to lose it.

Happy writing!
Margo Dill


Unknown said...

Hi Margo!

Great idea. :) I will have to try it out.

I have to agree when you put pencil/pen to paper, it feels like the writing flows a lot better when you are trying to find a voice for your character. You become that character in essence for that period of time.

It's just like becoming a character in a play, you have to find the voice for that character as well, you have to try and figure out what the screen play writer was going for and then of course there is the interpretation from the director how he/she wants the audience to view the character by adding certain qualities to that character.

Happy Writing!

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