Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday's Inspiration -- Bird by Bird - Writer's Voice

This essay by Anne Lamott really had me thinking. The writer's voice is sometimes hard to explain and my feeling is that each writer develops their own manner and style. Months ago I was playing on this site about Who Do I Write like. I took bits and pieces from a number of my stories, I think 10 and they came out to 10 different writers. Then I wondered what would happen if I took bits from the same story that had different areas like dialogue, suspense, description and I can't remember what else. I entered them one at a time and each section came up a different writer. A light sort of dawned. Did this mean I have an unique voice? Perhaps.

I also heard Debra Dixon speak at EPICon about the writer's voice. While she was speaking I went off on a tangent of thought. Are their talismans or specific things that creep into a writing. As I mulled this I'm sure I missed a bit of what she was saying but some things leaped our at me. Gems are often mentioned in my stories and I do like precious and non-precious stones that are pretty. I've also done a lot of reading about the lore of gems. Another thing that comes in many of my stories are caves and dark places but I also found these to be resting and thinking places for my characters. Places where they solve their problems.

Another point about a writer's voice is how often when beginning to write, a writer will imitate either consciously or unconsciously their favorite writers. I'm sure some of this imitation sticks but each writer puts their own spin on the words, the moods and all. I once judged a contest where I had three books from the same publisher and one thing jumped out. Was there a writer's voice. Though the stories were different they could have been written by the same person. Had some editor tampered with the writer's voice or were these new writers just coming into their own as writers? I'll never know the answer but it is something to think about.

Somewhere in my list of places I sometimes visit I have the Who Do I write like place. If anyone's interested let me know and I'll try to send it to you.



Great post! As a new writer, it's hard to find your voice, and to have the confidence to recognize it and stick with it. It's something I'm always working on.

Malcolm R. Campbell said...

I think I would prefer to write like me--whatever that is.


Anonymous said...

I think writer's voice is a journey and may change over time, but it's what I like most about my favorite authors. I love reading my own stuff and sometimes cringing - my voice is still there but it's become more sophisticaed!!