Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shhh! Do you hear them? The Voices?

So I know I’ve talked about voice before (check it out here), but I think it is important enough to bring it up again. I learned in my language d. class (last quarter, I’m battling the math now…save me). Anyways, like I was saying, in my LD class they taught us a little bit about learning to write. They said it was only the lucky ones that ever found their “voice.”

As a writer I grinned, because I think if you write long enough, you find your voice. If you are persistent.

If you have been reading our blog for some time, you will be able to pick out each of the different voices or writing styles Linda, L.T. and I have.

For example, Linda’s voice. Linda is a very uplifting writer. All her posts are encouraging, she has a passion for helping people and you can hear it in her writing. She writes children's books.

L.T. is so good at using the right word. Her posts have elegant mixtures of literary fusion. She really takes her time to find the right words. She writes fantasy.

I write like I’m a kid. Probably because I am around them all day. But I enjoy things that make me laugh – and yes, it comes through in my writing. I write YA.

So what are some things you can do to find your voice? I have a wonderful book by Wyndham (revised by Madison) called Writing for Children and Teenagers. If you haven’t read it, you need to find it. Excellent book. They recommend:

1. Listen. Listen to the group of people you are writing for. Find out how they talk, their tempo, their choice of words. (one word of warning for those writing YA. Don’t use fad words, like “bodacious” from the 80s – it will date your book).

2. Use good dialogue. This may take lots of practice, but if your dialogue isn’t believable, your characters won’t be either.

3. Use your dialogue to move your story forward (but please don’t info dump. I read a story where a character opened his mouth and spewed out tons of information that I didn’t think a real person would do.)

Good sound advice. They have more suggestions in the book, but I felt like these three were a good place to start.

So, those of you who have been writing for a while, how do you feel like you have found your voice? I’m interested.


Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great stuff! There are some wonderful suggestions here - thanks! :-)

L.T. Elliot said...

I think I found my voice from reading lots of different things and then combining all of them into the one that "sounded" most like me. (P.S. Thank you for the compliment! I've never had anything said so nicely of my words before.=] )

BTW, you're one of the finest, funniest YA writers I've ever read.

Daisy Whitney said...

The "listen" tip is an especially good one. Listening after all is the true foundation of good communication so it stands to reason it'll help us writers find the voices for our characters. PS: you should vlog!!

Becca said...

Don't you love it when the voice works? It almost seems like anything else can take a backseat - like you're listening to a friend who you just love to hear, no matter what she says. Well, you know - within reason...

Terresa said...

I think I'm still writing into my voice, that is, finding it through the process of writing each day.

Although people who visit my blog (which is different than my YA fantasy & dystopian WIPs) have commented about the strength of my voice on my blog.

Carolyn V. said...

Daisy, I am terrified to vlog, but your comment has made me think. Could you see Linda, L.T. and me all vlogging together? That would be AWESOME!

Becca, I love the voices. Especially the funny ones, because I am so not funny.

Terresa, I love your voice. It is a strong beautiful one. Keep it up!

Chaotic Beauty said...

Thank you for the wonderful tips and encouragement! I am hoping to find my voice this year!