Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Can you hear me now? (voice)

I've been reading a lot of blog posts about voice.  Supposedly it's the part of writing that sets writers apart from authors and I can totally see that.  Books with a good voice can really make the story so much better.  I find that a lot of times, the voice of the character echoes the voices of the author.  Now this is where I come into a problem.

I've been told before, that I don't have a personality.  This is obviously not true; everyone has to have a personality but I used to be extremely shy that it seemed like I didn't.  I've made a lot of progress with this (I am still shy but no longer quiet which sometimes confuses people because they don't understand the difference) but when I was a freshman in college I still didn't really talk much.  At the end of the year, the ultimate frisbee team gives people "paper plate awards".  They're usually funny awards that tease people about things they did, whatever.  I was so shy that I got nominated for the "no personality" award.  I didn't win.  I was so shy, that I wasn't even unique enough to win a no personality the award.  It was like an anti-personality.

As I've said above, I've pretty much outgrown that but I still tend towards a serious personality.  How is this going to come through in my voice for writing?  Am I going to have to find a voice that doesn't come naturally to me?

Yes, there are all kinds of voices and it depends on the story you're writing.  Sometimes a serious voice is needed.  Sometimes a humorous voice makes it a better story.  Either way, I'm going to have to find something that is right for my story.  I think it's going to be a mix between serious and throwing in a few jokes every now and then to lighten the mood (because I mean, saving the world is serious business).

I've been told finding your voice is the hardest part of writing so I'll continue to work on that until I can find something that is me.


  1. I disagree that you are all seriousness and unpersonalitied--this post has a lot of personality. And wonderful humor (anti-personality...I love it!).

    In my experience, finding my voice just came with writing, writing and more writing. It naturally evolves as you continue to drop words on a page.

    I got an award once for being negative--ouch! That's kinda like a "no personality" award in that it's supposed to be funny, but it's really not. In retrospect though, that award changed me a lot--I'm not nearly as sarcastic as I used to be.

  2. Aw, don't be so hard on yourself! And whoever said you don't have a personality - don't listen. Just because someone doesn't get your personality doesn't mean you don't have one!

    Also, I like to think of "voice" as something fluid. There's no great way to define it, agents and editors say they know it when they see it, so I think it's sometihng that changes and develops over time. Maybe even changes from project to project.

    You'll find yours!

    (Hi! Wandered over here from Steph Sinkhorn's blog when I saw we share a love for The Sing Off!)

  3. @heidi thanks! I think it's actually much easier for me to find my personality on paper so maybe that's the right direction for "voice". Either way, I'll just keep writing.

    @anonymeet thanks for stopping by! Anyone who loves the Sing Off is definitely welcome! (along with anyone who doesn't as well, lol). I did end up realizing those people just didn't give me a chance to show them my personality and once they did I think they "got" me.