Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Author’s Voice

The Writer’s Voice ~ More Than A Certain “Style”…


The six words in the image are Qualities of a writer’s Voice. Writer's Voice

Like most concepts in writing, “Voice” is somewhat slippery…

Are we talking about some “feel” we get from every sentence a writer uses?

Are we talking only about the 3rd person P.O.V.—since individual characters could well have completely distinct voices?

That image of Voice Qualities is a screen-shot from the video below…

Julian Treasure is the man speaking (he’ll explain each Voice Quality) and he’s talking about the voice we use when we speak.

But here comes more of that slipperiness I mentioned up there:

“The action or an act of uttering with the voice” is a definition of the word “Utterance“.

Another definition of that same word is “That which is uttered or expressed in words….written statement or expression”.

Here’s another screen-shot from the video: Avoid These In Your Writing

These are what Julian says we should avoid when we speak, if we want others to pay attention…

I feel these six Qualities should be avoided at all costs in a writer’s 3rd person P.O.V. [though, every “rule” can (and will, eventually) be broken]; plus, certain characters in a story may manifest these qualities with great force…

Some of you may be doubting my sanity in relating these concepts to the craft of writing…

Yet I am a writer and I find using the tool of Analogical Comparison, applied to other arts, is a valuable source of learning in my art—painting and music are also great for this creative-borrowing of tools…

FLASH NEWS ALERT:

Today is the last day to take part in this week’s writer’s poll !

Sorry for the interruption :-)

The last screen-shot from the video shows what I’ll call Inner Qualities of Writing. Inner Qualities of Writing

These are what I feel a writer would do well to develop in their private Relationship with their Readers…

This borrowing from the art of speaking-so-others-pay-attention may strain your ability to use Analogical Comparison; but, give it a try—Mr. Treasure will help you in the video…

By the way, if you think “analogy” and “comparison” are just two words for the same thing, try considering the phrase, Poetical Comparison; or, Imaginary Comparison—and, yes, I’m being slippery with words—but, then, I am a writer :-)

And, if you absolutely can’t relate to my Slippery Analogical Comparisons, you may just find yourself having to use your physical voice in a situation where it critically matters that others want to pay attention………

Enjoy The Video—this man truly practices what he preaches…


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How Do Writers Find Their “Voice”?


For those of you who’ve never considered what a writer’s Voice is, Wikipedia has a decent definition:

“The writer’s voice is the individual writing style of an author, a combination of idiotypical usage of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text (or across several works).”

And, whoever wrote that definition (or, considering it’s Wikipedia, however many people worked on editing that definition) it has a peculiar Voice since it uses a completely non-typical word (not even in my Oxford dictionary)—“idiotypical”

I would have used “idiosyncratic” and had to go back to Wikipedia just to find a definition for “idiotypical”

So, leaving Wikiness behind, I need to link to two past posts that have videos of Nilofer Merchant:

#SocialEra ~ The New Model for Book Promotion

The #SocialEra Is Much More Than Just “Social Media” . . .

I’m going to share another video of Nilofer today, a video in which she uses a different “Voice” as a public speaker

And, that comment about her “voice” as a speaker seems to me intriguing, since, if you watch all three videos, she uses the same “voice”—one voice being how her vocal chords work and the other being how she uses the same vocal voice with different idiosyncratic mannerisms and stronger emotional emphasis.

Writers, too, can have different Voices in different works.

Yet, if you become familiar with all of a writer’s works, even if there are different Voices in each, there may be a single MetaVoice detectable

Young and untested writers often have imitative voices.

Finding a writing Voice is a very personal journey (nothing like the superficial “advice” some folks peddle) and the journey often involves struggle and heartbreak and commitment to some higher purpose.

And, if you need a simple method for finding your own, a method stressed by nearly all writers, just keep writing, then write some more, and never stop writing—your personal Voice will, eventually, emerge

In the following video, Nilofer isn’t talking only to writers but pay close attention because she uncovers one of the critical aspects of developing the Voice that Only You can have………


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Can Writing Poetry Help An Author Find Their “Voice”?


Writer’s Voice is one of those terms that seems to change its meaning depending on who’s talking about it—almost as if “Writer’s Voice” were capable of sensing who’s writing about it and letting that author’s Voice decide what “Writer’s Voice” means

For me, writer’s voice is “simply” the way one puts the words down.

If an author stays rigidly within a genre, the way they put words down is constrained by their experience within the genre.

And, speaking of genre, the previous post, What Is A Genre & Should You Try To Write In One?, is where I add my writer’s voice to the discussion

If a particular writer has a work classified as science fiction yet reading it feels substantially different than most sci-fi you’ve read, the book was either put in the wrong genre classification or, even though it could be fairly called sci-fi, the author’s voice is unique enough to raise the work above hackneyed-genre.

So, what does poetry have to do with helping a writer find their voice?

Well, The Atlantic recently published an article by Dorothea Lasky called What Poetry Teaches Us About the Power of Persuasion.

To me, an author’s voice is the main thrust behind their power to persuade—persuade in a forceful voice or one which woos or perhaps a deceiving voice that misinforms to persuade away from

Then, there’s Ms. Lasky’s subtitle-sentences:

“Logic and grammar are important. But for students to truly own the English language, they need to read and write poems.”

Certainly seems owning language would improve voice, eh?

Let me share a few more excerpts from the article in an attempt to persuade you to follow its link:

“…if someone is telling you that there is a set and finite way to construct a sentence—and you’re a poet—you will naturally get a little annoyed. And you will be justified in feeling this way, because it’s simply not true.”

“I have found that all students can write. And one of the surest ways to awaken their love for language is poetry.”

“A lot of people argue that poetry is ‘difficult’ or that it has no real value for childrens’ future. That’s just not true. If you think poetry isn’t important to your students, you are not listening to them. You are not noticing the headphones in their ears, blasting poetry to soothe their walk to class. You are not thinking of them in their rooms at night, writing down their experiences. It may be that you are defining poetry too dogmatically.”

“…in a poem, a student not only has the freedom to express a new idea, but to do so in novel language he or she has just created. More so than any other type of writing, a poem takes into account the indispensable dimension of well-chosen words.”

“A poem is not just a place to present a student’s grammatical knowledge (in fact, it is often the space to subvert it!). Poetry, more than any other form of writing, trains students to take into account the style of language.”

Yes, Ms. Lasky is talking about students, because she’s a poet and a teacher; but, any author who stops learning is an author that just might lose their voice
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