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Does anyone else have trouble finding/sharing/maintaining a narrative voice?
It’s supposed to be familiar. Similar to our speaking voice.
Easily recognized by tone, phrasing, and specific word choices.
Some might recognize our voice by the abundance of profanity—think Margo in The Magicians—or lack of it. Professor McGonagall, I’m talking about you. We may get louder the closer to heart we are, or in some cases quieter.
We might color our language with our own kind of slang. I’m thinking TV’s Buffy and Firefly. Joss Whedon was a master. Some people still use the term ‘Scooby Gang’.
Unless they’re doing a Lemony Snicket, the writer shares as much about their likes and dislikes as the characters. Examples: Love of Scooby Doo, or the colorful addition of human or fairy anatomy.
Whether we mean to or not, our voices can add our assumptions and prejudices. Personal perceptions can be in every descriptor. Pet peeves or favorite outlooks influence our themes. Not intentionally but naturally. The words flow from our fingers like magic because we see the world uniquely and we feel the inner need to share what we believe in.
We feel. We color. We decorate our work.
And it is glorious!
Don’t edit it out. It may bring on feelings of insecurity, a need to pull back, or worry about going too far. It’s natural because if the voice is too close to home, we feel vulnerable.
With our voice out there for everyone to read, it could be criticized. Takes bravery to put our work out there as it is.
It’s hard to stick to our decision when we seek out feedback.
But should their opinions or our inner editor squash the nuance of voice? What would Joss say to that?
“What! No Scooby Gang.”
We may choose not to be the next Joss, or Lemony. Many authors use a more neutral voice. That’s fine too. Whatever works.
You want to use your own voice? Then give yourself the freedom to say it how you see it.
Any other voices out there? How about books on the subject? Feel free to share.