#NaNoWriMo, Ariel Hahn, Blood and Water, books, character voice, China Mieville, Kim Falconer, Led Edgerton, Les, Orphan Black, paranormal romance, self-honesty, Supernatural Underground, Tatiana Maslany, urban fantasy, Vampires Gone Wild, Voice and style, written word
This post is reblogged from my Supernatural Underground Monthly offering.
With #NaNoWriMo in full swing, I’ve seen more than a few questions pop up in the social buzz about #VOICE. For example, a post yesterday questioned writing multiple characters. It had everyone talking.
The smartest answer?
Make it sound real.
This reminds me of Tatiana Maslany’s incredible delivery of – what is it now, twelve – cloned versions of herself on Orphan Black? The writers give each character a different personality, back-story and voice, and Tatiana delivers in a way that feels authentic. Not forced.
And those accents!
Editor Ariel Hahn says voice is the absence of artifice. It’s what comes out when you have just yourself. She says not to worry though; it will develop on its own if you keep writing!
China Mieville puts it like this: Every book I write, the first thing I have to do is get into the voice, and the voice varies from book to book – that’s part of what’s interesting to me . . . Of course, who you’re writing for is part of the decision about the voice of the book . . . but the person you’re writing for is (sorry to repeat what is a cliche, but it’s true) yourself – though yourself at different times and in different moods.
So when I wrote Railsea, I was very much wanting to write a story for myself at a certain age. I tried to inhabit the voice that would excite and win over and appeal to and interest that me, rather than thinking “now to write to appeal to children”. I wouldn’t know how – but I do know how to tell younger-me a story he would like, I think and hope.It takes self-reflection for a writer to pull this off.
Les Edgerton suggests that the best way to find your voice is to write autobiographically. “Writers will never find a powerful, evocative voice until they learn to be bone-deep honest with themselves, open and vulnerable”.As the saying goes, if you’re a writer, who needs therapy?
Here are examples of voice in two different projects I’m currently working on:
Black Tuesday (w/t) – NY, 1926 Paranormal Romance
The secretaries were like birds on a hot wire, all a chatty flap. Hammond’s door was open, the man shouting on the phone.
“What happened?” Charlotte asked the receptionist.
“He was actually here!”
“Who?” Charlotte knew perfectly well who. It was all she could do to keep from running after him.
“Leon Marcottie!” the office girls said in unison.
“Him?” Charlotte managed to shrug one shoulder. “I hear he’s a real cake eater . . .”
The Blood in the Beginning (w/t) – 2020, LA Urban Fantasy
The detective and I went way back, not in a cozy, family friendship way, hell no. He’d set me straight when I went a little wayward.
Okay. A lot wayward . . .
Rourke kept me out of juvie, for the most part, and though there’d been no luck finding decent foster care, he started me in the LA-MMA junior circuit, and that saved my life.
“You want to fight, you might as well learn how not to get killed.”
When I showed up for my first class, he was leading it. Yeah, we went way back.
VOICE is like a fingerprint – if you listen closely, you’ll find the writer’s unique signature. Do you have a favorite voice in film, TV or novels? I’d love to hear more! Comments welcome.