Blog Chain: Finding my Voice

Well…the AMAZING Sarah started this round with the following question: 

how did you discover your particular voice as a writer?

Now this is an awesome question.  Those who answered before me did a great job talking about finding their niche as a writer as they found the “voice” of the characters they like to write about.  They even joked about how difficult it sometimes is to find a YA voice when you are NOT YA yourself.

One or two talked about their author’s voice…the way they put words together on the page.

For me, finding my voice as an author is very different than finding the voice of my character.  I’ll tackle both concepts in this post.

I like to write in first or third person, present or past tense, fantasy or contemporary…all of it YA (mostly because of the pacing and natural angst inherent in YA).  When I write, I like to use a combination of choppy,staccato sentences with longer more narrative types.  I like ending chapters on cliffhangers, with the resolution occurring in the next chapter.  I love tension and a strong emotional back story. My stories deal with big emotional issues related to growing up, good versus evil, mythology and other biggies.

All of this is my “voice” as an author. No matter what fiction I am writing, you can be sure that the things that characterize me as an author will be present within the story.  I’m not sure how these attributes developed into my “signature” style or voice…but they have.

In nonfiction, my voice as an author is easy to identify – it is the same as the voice I use when I teach, coach, counsel, etc.  It’s me.

This is not true in fiction.  While my stories are distinctively me, the “voice” you may feel in the story is related to my characters.  And if I have done my job well, each MC will sound unique, based on who he or she is.

A long time ago I did a post on writing three dimension characters. The essence was that finding the voice of the character is key to authenticity, which is key to writing a believable character.  Check it out for more of my thoughts about finding a character’s voice.

So, there you go – my long, rambling answer to finding my voice, what I think voice is, etc.

Check out Kat’s post yesterday for her terrific take on this subject.  I’m the last in this chain, so come on back in a few weeks to see what other things the chain has decided to talk about!

What is your take on voice?  And how did you find yours?

 

7 thoughts on “Blog Chain: Finding my Voice

  1. Voice. Great topic, Christine!

    Oddly enough, when I go back and read each of the novels I’ve penned, I see a development of voice over time. I started with urban fantasy 3rd person, then switched to paranormal romance 1st person, before flipping to YA 1st person…still paranormal. It wasn’t deliberate, I just went with the flow (my unconscious has a way of directing things–I don’t mess with it, LOL!) Um, anyway, I have to say each story has its own “voice.”

    But how do I know what (or who) my voice is?

    Well, when I go back to read something I haven’t touched in a while, I think, “Who wrote that? It doesn’t sound like ME.” Maybe that’s what voice is. When it’s actually the character talking and not me “writing” it.🙂

  2. That was so awesome, Christine. It actually cleared a couple of things up for me because so often the “voice” is alluded to as being both things, but for me, it breaks down just as you’ve said. I just never understood until now. Thanks!

  3. It’s been trial and error for me. Mostly error. I strayed from my natural YA voice with this book with disasterous results (my writer’s group thought it was fine). Unfortunately it took a lot of rejections, non responders, and a few words of feedback from agents to realize this. Too bad now that I’ve found my voice (which was apparently hidden under a snow bank😉 ), I’ve missed out on the agents who were initially interested enough to read the sample pages. BUT at least now I know what my natural YA voice is. I recently had an agent who passed on my story (not right for her) tell me my voice is strong.😀

    At least I won’t make the same mistake next time. I’m going to keep my voice in a nice safe place this time🙂

  4. Great answer, Christine. You do an awesome job here of dissecting a difficult concept. I like the way you separate and distinguish the differences between your fiction and non-fiction writing. There is definitely a difference, and it’s an important distinction to note. While your voice might be the same across different genres, this is more like completely different scopes of writing. Nice job.

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