Monday, January 17, 2011

The Ever Elusive Voice

Recently I read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I'd read a lot good reviews about it, so I was excited to read it. From page one, I was hooked. It made me wonder, what made it so fantastic? I reread the first page and realized it was one important thing: the voice.

In the past year, I've been to several writing conferences. Time and again, agents and authors mention the importance of having a good voice. Yet they admit that they can't define voice; they just know it when they see it. I agree. It's the books with an awesome voice that keep me reading into the wee hours of the morning. 

But as a writer, the term "voice" terrifies me. I want my characters' voices to shine on the page. I want them to be original. I want people to care about them. Yet I fear that I can't do it. I'm not sure that voice can be taught. But what if it can't be learned either?

What do you think? Can voice be learned? How? Does the term "voice" keep you up late at night like it does to me?

Oh, and don't forget to sign up for my $15 Amazon gift card giveaway here. It ends on Friday, January 21, at 10pm EST.


Faith E. Hough said...

Have you read any of Ursula LeGuin's books on writing? She addresses voice marvelously in "Steering the Craft"--I found that very helpful for grasping what people meant about voice.
I think it's important to be aware of voice, but DON'T worry about it. There's nothing that will make your voice come out better than fearlessness.
Best of luck!

Nicole MacDonald said...

You will recognise it when you get it :) I had aspects of mine from day one and when my first critiquer hated it, it took a lot of confidence to go forward with it. And it was the right descision :) Be true to yourself and NEVER let another knock you down if you know it's right. You'll get there, just don't over think it.
Good luck

The Arrival, on Amazon NOW!

Cheree said...

Voice is one of those things that you'll only get through practice. Once the character's developed I'm sure the voice will come out naturally, just don't try to force it.

Renae said...

I am SO happy to see that you are blogging more! I've missed reading your posts and CONGRATS on your NaNo award. That is A.MAZ.ING!

Kari Marie said...

I've been wondering about the same thing. As a writer who is still searching, I'm afraid I'll never find it. Practice makes perfect I guess.

Andria said...

I agree with those above. I think voice can be learned through writing practice and reading, but I don't think it can be taught. That's my two cents.