So, a lot of people have been talking about 'Voice' lately in the blogosphere. It is a dilemma that many a beginning writer faces developing or even understanding. In the beginning I was extremely confused about how my 'voice' should sound, or if I even had the confidence to 'be myself' when writing. I studied and studied other author voices and after a while I thought, "What if my voice sounds like someone else's and not my own?" I banned ALL reading until I finished with my second draft. (which was really a better first draft =).
That was when I read an article written by an agent (sorry, I forget which one…probably in one of my revision books) who said that it is ridiculous to think that you should lose your voice when reading others’. Instead, others should inspire you, not diminish you. Otherwise, you really don't have your own voice at all. This really struck me as profound. Was I being myself? I was still confused.
Now, after reading so many articles and blogs and write-write-writing, I am there. And the best way I can explain a “Voice” is just to BE YOUR SELF! If you read books by authors that you are familiar with, you can pick out their work from everyone else’s. If you were to read your friends’ work, you could definitely tell who wrote it. At least I could.
When reading my brother’s, husband’s, cousin’s work, whether for a book or school assignment or just something silly they were trying out (a letter, even), I could see their personality jump off the page. My cousin and brother have brilliant senses of humor (is that right? senses? =) They each have their take on things. Now, for them, it would completely work if they would just write a book like they would speak. They are so hilarious. For me, I never thought I had that sense of humor. When I wrote, I would take the most serious parts of myself and put it down in prose. But now, as I am revising, I have decided that the parts people have liked the most in my book where places that I really let my hair down. I was myself. I let my sense of humor take over and let caution go with the wind. So, this is my idea of a voice. Just be yourself. Let your quirky views of life really hit the page and reflect back into the reader’s eyes. Don’t be ashamed of who you are (this is more advice for myself).
Now, sometimes this doesn’t work for every reader. Some people just won’t ‘get’ you at all. That is obvious when I started having new beta readers read my work. But for the audience I was writing for, they really enjoyed my eccentricity and nonconformity. That’s all that matters to me. I will write what I like, be myself, and I will find my audience. SO THERE! =) jk, I mean, not, but okay, you get the point. LOL.
Yes, well, these are my aunts, many many years ago, showing their silliness =). Imagine what this would be like on paper...