Friday, April 11, 2008
Hearing Your Own Voice
As writers, we’re told that our voices make us unique. They may be strong, or subtle. Bold, or understated. But somewhere in there is buried what we’re all about. I’ve never been particularly good at hearing my own. Voice is such a part of us, it’s like trying to hear your own accent when you’ve lived in one region all your life.
But lately, I’ve been working with my new critique partner. She’s got a great voice. Her writing sparkles with energy, and whatever she’s writing, I get a sense of her personality in her words, even though we haven’t known each other that long yet.
So I looked back at my own work, trying to hear my own voice. I do things like this when I’m feeling any kind of pressure with my writing (currently, to complete Broken Pentacle, the sequel to Nature’s Pentacle). I go off on interesting tangents, procrastinating under the pretenses of better understanding my own writing process.
What I decided as I read back through my work in progress is that, for me, voice is tied directly to how I experience the world around me. I’m one of those people who’s constantly aware of air movement, shadows, bird calls, and other earthy details, like what the soil smells like after a spring rain.
I guess it’s a pagan thing, that constant connection to the world around me. But what I’d never noticed before was how much it comes out in my voice when I write. It’s there in the words I choose. The details I describe. The structure of my sentences.
And really, it made for a delightful bit of procrastination. So, what about you? If you write, what would you say characterizes your voice? Sets it apart from others? And as readers, can you think of any authors with a voice you love? What makes them one of your favorites?