Monday, March 14, 2011

It's all about VOICE

Just a thought on voice today. While I was 'trying' to go to sleep last night, ideas came for my book (which is always the case whenever I'm NOT in front of my computer to put them into my MS) and an idea on what VOICE actually means to me. Well, I thought back to my first book and how I'd want to put the random thought  or sequence into a scene. Later I realized this was implementing voice, (and would have been a good idea) at the time I thought I was just a dork for wanting to write some of the things I did and that everyone would think I was lame.


It was those little nuances that I should have been putting throughout my MS, not just at the beginning when things weren't as tense.

To me VOICE is HONESTY. All those moments when you think about the real-to-life thoughts you would have in certain situations, any situation whether dramatic or mundaine, are the things needed to make a story more real, more honest. What goes through your head when you are doing a mundaine task? Voice can take this mundaine task and add humor to it. Or make a scary scene even more scary.

For instance, I know that even as an adult I get scared of the dark. Yes, a lot of honesty here. And it was those fears, down to the very detail of what I was affraid would happen, that I decided I needed to put into a certain scene of my book to make it more intense. I began with a scene where a girl is going to bed at night...but what if I put in her thoughts about what might happen. Seems obvious, right? Well, with so many other things going on at the beginnig of the scene I didn't think of it. But why not? If I put her (my) thoughts about this (being in a strange place/bed) into it, it will add drama, even if nothing ends up happening, the reader doesn't know that and it keeps them on edge. Now that may not sound obviously like VOICE, but it's the way you do it that is. When I put it into my own language (or characters) in such a realistic way, I think that's when I discover my voice. Whether I have silly thoughts, or snarky. Whatever REAL thoughts a person has, that is VOICE. It isn't just about getting plot down on the page, having the MC go through the motions. They have to think, feel, observe and relate it all to the reader in a way that makes it feel like they are actually there.

I don't know why it is that when I have a unique situation in my own life I think other people won't be interested and yet if I apply it to my story it may just be the thing that makes my story more realistic and actually less cliche. Because, I think, many situations in our lives are NOT cliche. What do you think? Yes, there are things that happen to each and everyone one of us, but do we overlook them because they are ordinary, or do we use them to full advantage and put more of ourselves into our books? Sometimes I think it's the small things that people can relate to that make a character likeable and real.

So, this post is pretty scatterbrained because I thought it all out last night and should have ran down here to type it out when I would have been more suave with my wording (now it's a little hazy), but, you know, it was around 1am and I was tired =).

What are your thoughts on voice? What makes a voice a good voice? Or a story real to you?


Elena Solodow said...

Really good point about voice being honesty.

Abby Stevens said...

Hi Kathryn! I found you via Kiersten White's post today. I completely agree - voice is all about honesty/authenticity. BTW, I saw on a previous post that you don't typically like pink and purple, but I must say your blog design is very, very lovely!

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

Thanks Abby! I think deep down I AM a pink and purple kind of gal, I just don't like to admit it to myself. =)