S2, E38: I Hear Voices


For today’s episode, I’m talking voice – “authorial” AKA the writer’s voice and character voices. What is “voice”, how is it reflected, and how the heck do you “learn” how to do it?

Intro:

  • Love my Zoom! Software it came with sucks, though, so sticking with Audacity 🙂  Did find a highly recommended free program called Levelator, though, that I will be trying with this episode that is designed to help with the main issue I usually have with episodes – correcting the audio levels to a nice, pleasant, even range
  • Learned Mount Hakodate is a really small mountain (1,096 feet tall)…and that a “real” mountain is insanely huge (Mount Fuji is 12,388 feet). Some of the tallest buildings in the world, such as the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai which is 2,722 feet tall!
  • Fun of writing in meters instead of feet

Main Topic:

  • Friend remarked that my way of talking completely changed whenever I talked to my father
    • What might be considered a “lower class” way of speak: heavier accent, dropping words and letters, heavier use of “bad” English like ain’t
    • Made me think about voice in writing
  • What is writing voice?
    • Voice
      • Grammar Girl: “the distinct personality, style, or point of view of a piece of writing or any other creative work”
      • Wikipedia: “…the individual writing style of an author, a combination of their common usage of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text (or across several works).”
      • Something you’ll likely notice without noticing, if that makes sense – many people can tell if something is written by a favorite author just from reading some of it and seeing their “signature”
    • Writing voice – your voice, your unique writing style
  • Finding your voice
    • It’s inside you – a combination of your personality, experiences, way of thinking, speaking, writing, etc.
    • Be authentic – avoid the temptation to imitate the writing style of your favorite author’s – that’s their voice, your own unique voice will sound far better than even a well-meaning hommage
    • Give yourself permission to be yourself – engage in regular freewriting exercises where you just write without restraint – as you reread you’ll start to notice your own voice (NaNo is awesome for this, IMHO)
    • Read your own work! Read it outloud even.  The more you write and read your own work, the more you’ll pick up on your patterns.
    • Talk it out…if you were sitting down in a room with a friend telling them a story, would it sound similar to how you write? If not, ask yourself why not and what parts of your voice talking should be going into that writing!
    • Having the confidence and faith in your way of telling a story – that isn’t to say you should just ignore any and all feedback or throw out basic elements that make good writing, but also trust your instincts. If something is “against” the rules, but for you it works well and readers are responding to it, stick with it! For example, I sometimes using sentence fragments and end sentences with prepositions *gasp*  They can be effective and it’s how I talk/think – so yes, they break the “rules” but they work for me
    • Dolly Parton said: “Figure out who you are, and then do it on purpose”
  • What is your character’s voice
    • Your character’s voice and way of talking
    • Separate and distinct from your writing voice
  • Who’s voice
    • In 1st person, the novel’s voice will be all one character’s rather than authorial
    • In 3rd, if doing scenes from a character POV, then it will blend authorial and the POV character’s
    • Non POV characters voice is shown in dialog and, when doing subjective POV, thought
  • How reflect
    • Word choices – big words? Complex words? Jargon?
    • Sentence structure and talking speed
    • Sense of humor
    • Greetings
    • Use of metaphors, similies, and the kind they use
    • Favorite expressions, catchphrases, way of cursing – Synergy and deltas
    • Attitude – forceful, hesitant, respectful, rude, etc?
    • Thought processes – what do they notice, think about, etc. Do they ramble?
  • Examples
    • Aisuru – Sakura vs Karasu vs Kazuki
    • Reconstruction – 1st person
    • Me in my different forms – social media vs business vs blogging
  • Learning/finding character voices
    • Reading to see how others do it (duh)
    • While watching shows or movies, notice how the different characters act, talk, etc – and how they may change up depending on who they are with
    • While out and about, notice the way people talk in their conversations – different speech patterns, etc
    • Try different writing prompts:
      • One of your characters writing a letter
      • One of your characters on a rant or making a passionate declaration
      • Rewrite a scene from a different character’s POV
      • How would your character advise someone in a knowledge they know a lot about – i.e. if they know how to speak a foreign language, have them to talk to someone about learning that language

Progress Report: Finished the second going over of chapters 8-10, finished writing and going over 11 and 12, started 13