In the writing world there are two types of VOICE:
- Your authorial style, that is unique if
- The style of speech and thought pattern or processes of a character
We all have our favorite writers and it is this that we often recognise from the first sentence of a work. It is more than a style of Point of View (POV) and many author’s work can be recognised from blind readings; Kazuo Ishiguro is a writer I’ve found to have a unique authorial voice.
At University and in writer’s groups I found it useful to imitate the voice of an author I admired. This exercise is like the Form/No-Form training in martial arts but eventually you must relax the form you are imitating until your own appears and it becomes something only you could have written.
It can be as enlightening to turn this exercise on its head and attempt to imitate a writer you dislike, let yourself go and become that writer; you’ll recognise some habits from your writing that you need to drop.
Characters, too, should have a unique voice. I’ve found that I must inhabit the character’s mind to achieve this though. I try to have a minimum of one hour put aside to write in isolation so that I have the time to reacquaint myself with the character and then inhabit them comfortably.
For antagonist or evil characters it is challenging to enter their minds but also to exit their minds unscathed.
I find songs a great source for words to use in character dialog; songs are like haiku (the better ones at least) where every word, every syllable, should be there only on merit. Most of us are lazy in our speech and we often use the incorrect word because it just pops out. If not overdone this can provide a character with a unique voice.
The same two elements of writing apply for a blog; the words should drop out of your head or heart and on to the page, only editing typographical errors.
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One of those synchronistic things – just discussing this recently with a friend – how do you stop yourself being an imitator of your favourite writers? You don’t, but you can eventually grow into your own voice, just as you’ve so eloquently put it! Thank you 🙂
btw – for some reason it rendered my comment above anonymous – just for the sake of courtesy, may I identify anonymous as subliminalspaces.wordpress.com Thanks again for this most enlightening site
your welcome “subliminalspaces”, and yes it is amazing how often this synchronicity occurs. Not sure why WordPress left you as anonymous, they’re normally pretty good.
I’ll certainly bare it in mind when I’m blogging