Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Have A Writer's Voice

I just watched The King's Speech today and was so moved by the King's persistence and determination to overcome a speech impediment. In an impassioned discussion with his speech therapist, he emphatically declares ..."I have a voice!" He wanted to be respected. He wanted to be successful. He wanted to be heard.

Isn't that what we writers want? We want to be heard. We want our stories to breathe and speak. We want our voice to be heard through our writing.

We all have a unique voice, a voice that is entirely our own. Our voice is heard through our sentence structure, our vocabulary, our humor or lack of, our dialogue. It is heard through our description, or our fast paced plots. It is heard through so many facets in the writing world.

How do we find our voice? I have no idea. Perhaps our voice emerges when we keep putting pen to the page, becoming free and bold in our writing. When we let ourselves go and spin the stories of our heart, that's the ticket to our voice shining through. At least, that is what I've been told.

As a writer, how have you found your voice? Has anyone told you your writing voice is unique? If you've found your voice, how did you find it? What advice have you been given to find your voice?

19 comments:

Jennifer Shirk said...

I so want to see the King's Speech still!
My mom eneded up going to the movies and saw The Black Swan--thinking she was getting a nice ballerina movie. She walked out!!! She told me it was sick and depressing. I told her she needs to see the King's Speech.
But anyway, getting back to voice. Voice is definitely how we tell a story, so everyone has one. But I think you really have to relax and be yourself to let it really be heard, so to speak. :)

Sherrinda said...

Jennifer, I believe your mom would LOVE The King's Speech. It was such a feel-good movie. It was only rated R because of the F-word, which he used in therapy. (When he was in a 'temper' and cussed, he didn't stutter!) Brilliant movie. And as for voice, I think you are right. We have to relax, forget about it, and let it just come.

Misha said...

Well... I sort of talk to my characters to hear their voices, so it's more them than me.

My voice sort of comes through the themes...

:-)

Casey said...

Voice has got to be THE most illusive concept they can teach in writing! I've been *told* I have a good voice and I think it's unique, but I don't know! :)

All I know is that the more I seem to write, the more I do see trademark quirks coming out that make it "my" writing.

Love the image at the top. :)

Pepper said...

Great post, Sherrinda.
And I REALLY< REALLY, REALLY want to see The King's Speech.....
and the new Jane Eyre movie.

Okay, I've been told I have a unique voice, but I thought that was just because of my accent ;-)
Really, though, I'm with Case - it's kind of a vague concept that everyone seems to understand without being able to fully explain :-)

Beth K. Vogt said...

I think we start off finding our voice by imitating others' voices--trying them on for size, so to speak. And then we go, "That doesn't quite feel like me. Nope, not that doesn't either . . ." Until we finally peel off all the "tries" and discover our particular voice.
I know when I'm in my voice when someone reads something I've written and says, "It feels like I'm sitting across the table from you having a conversation with you."
Of course, that's my non-fiction voice. Not sure sure what they say about my fiction voice.

vvdenman.com said...

I've been told I have a unique voice, but I have NO IDEA why, or how, or when. I just write what I hear in my head. So, I guess what my readers get is "the voices in my head." Scary, huh?

Julia M. Reffner said...

OK, I'm going with the rest of you here. I've been told this is a strength of mine..but like Denman it must just be the voices in my head.

I really want to see this movie.

Sherrinda said...

Misha, I love that idea. I read somewhere about an exercise to get "different voices". You write the same scene from different POVs. It helps to set the voice. Interesting, huh?

Casey...Love that word - illusive. That is definitely a great way to put it. I think we all have it, don't you?

Pepper, I just saw the preview to Jane Eyre while at The King's Speech. It looked so good! Sigh...I love period pieces.

Sherrinda said...

Beth, I think that would be a high compliment indeed to have someone reading your work feel like you are telling the story to them. (Unless, of course, they are never transported into the storyworld because they are too comfortable with your voice!) ;) Just kidding! Great thought!

VVDenman, the voices in your head are what makes your voice unique. Only you can tell their story. Only you can make them sing. :)

Julia, you do have a beautiful voice, Julia. And it will be such a great thing to watch your journey! :)

Keli Gwyn said...

Sherrinda, I loved The King's Speech and the excellent portrayal of a man seeking to overcome so much more than just a speech impediment. I'm buying this movie as soon as it comes out because it's a keeper.

In regard to Voice, I think mine found me when I stopped searching for it and just wrote my story. Come to think of it, some of the best things in my life have come that way, such as my dear Gwynly. Methinks there's a lesson in this somewhere, one I'd do well to learn. =)

Julia M. Reffner said...

Thanks, Sherrinda. I have a long way to go, but I'm enjoying the journey so that's the important part :)

Cindy R. Wilson said...

These are questions I always used to ask myself. I just kept thinking I didn't have a voice - at least not until I'd written several stories and finally let others read them. Once I learned what style suited me and that I tended to write description and dialogue a certain way, I heard from others that I had a voice they recognized--that was unique to me. I never realized until then that all those things you mentioned (dialogue, fast paced writing, etc.) were all examples of a person's voice.

I think the hard part is finding the genre that works best for that unique voice and then using that to your advantage.

Sherrinda said...

Keli, I have experienced that as well. When i finally get my fingers off of it, that is when God can work best. Wise words, my friend.

Cindy, you bring up an interesting point. Is our voice best suited for a certain genre? I know it is not the case for Kaye Dacus. She writes both historical and contemporary and does really well at both. It is a very interesting thought, Cindy. I've written a medieval and am working on a contemporary. I'm not sure what I'm best suited for. :)

Julia M. Reffner said...

Hmmm...I really like Cindy's point about genre. Going to ponder this further.

Angie said...

Sometimes I worry that my "voice" is an imitation of someone I've read. I am thankful to have found networks like ACFW crit groups, crit partners, and contest judges, to give me encouragement or criticism and help me "see" the believability of uniqueness of voice. Don't know if I am making any sense at all...pregnancy is sucking it all out at this point! :)

Sherrinda said...

Julia, I am pondering too! I really wonder which genre I sound best at. I know which one I want it to be, but really...am I suited for it?

Angie, me too! I wonder if I sound like someone else and it really bothers me to think that I might. I have to keep writing, hoping that ME will emerge! lol

Carman said...

Oh my gosh. I may not be a writer, but I saw that movie too, and I loved it! It was amazing. I understand now why it won so many awards! :D

Sherrinda said...

Carman, wasn't it superb? I loved Colin Firth's moving portrayal of King George VI.