Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Dang! She's got a mouth on her!
When it comes to a pair of shoes, or a nagging woman, this may be a bad thing. But when it comes to writing fiction, a powerful voice is essential. Monday, I talked about character and how it's one of the things that Mary Kole feels separates the unpublished writer from the published author. The second thing is voice. As you all know, voice is near impossible to define. It's not something you can teach. It's not something you can learn. But it is something you can develop over time. And by time, I mean years and years of practice that ultimately result in you finding your own voice. In the Webinar, Mary Kole didn't even attempt to give pointers on the matter. Instead, she named books that she felt were perfect examples of strong voice. Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith and Feed by M. T. Anderson were among this list. She also stated what her most frequent voice notes consist of: dry and clunky writing; reads like a business memo; and too adult (of course this only applies to children's literature). She also commented that the voice must be authentic and natural. No author can force it. Readers, even kids, will notice if you're a poser. So, what did I learn? Well, I didn't get any solid answers, but I did learn that my voice is unique to me, and only practice will get it strong enough for publication. I'm sure you all are a bit disappointed that I didn't have some greater words of wisdom, but we are talking voice here. I'm not sure that anyone can give a concrete explanation of what makes for a good voice other than that it captures the reader and won't let go. What do you think? What makes for a powerful voice?