Since I started pursuing writing, one of the things that has been most confusing to me has been Voice.
Here are some of the notes I took at Backspace that involve voice:
“You have a voice! You have a voice! You have a voice!”
“VOICE! Lalala. VOICE! Lalala.”
Oh! You want more helpful notes? Here:
Voice is what makes your story believable, intriguing. It’s someone you want to live with. You find yourself reading the book in your head in a different voice than your own. It’s what makes your characters come alive on the page. How do you get voice? Harness your own uniqueness.
But in short, for a long time I was concerned that I didn’t have a voice. My book is not in first person (which is not a necessity for voice, but it gol-durnit helps). It is not flowery or staccato or street punk.
“Do I have a voice?” I quavered to one of my beta-readers.
“Yes,” she said soothingly. “Don’t worry. You have a voice.”
“What is it?” I asked. “What is my voice?”
After a long conversation, we came to the conclusion that my voice is direct, no-nonsense, action-driven, almost sparse. Example? Bleeder starts in a school hallway. Do I describe it? No. We’ve all been to school. I am perfectly happy with my readers placing Angela in whatever school they went to. So I don’t describe the clang of the lockers or the squeak of sneakers. There is no smell of leftover school lunch food clogging the trash cans. The lockers have no color- they aren’t chipped, faded, or brand-new. Why? Because it doesn’t matter! We are in that school hallway for about 3 pages before we never see it again. I do describe some locations in detail- Angela’s house, the hospital… all are locations that mean something. There is a reason for their shabbiness or their grandeur. And most of the architecture I describe actually figures into the plot in some way.
As a result, I wonder sometimes (after reading something like Jasper Jones, the perfect book for atmosphere) if my book is lacking in atmosphere. Hm…. *thinks about it* I don’t think so. I think that atmosphere simply takes a backseat to the plot. Anyway, the book is out with somebody new now- maybe she can take a look at that for me. *wink wink*
Now, I know that my voice on this blog is way different than my voice in the book. That’s for darn tootin’. For example, I would never say “darn tootin'” in my book. Bleeder is way too cool for that. My blog voice I would describe as cute or quirky. Hopefully it’s approachable and interesting.
So how about you-all out there- What is your voice like? Is it different or the same as your blog voice? Have you ever tried to describe it? Have you ever had someone describe it for you?