Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Throwing Your Voice

We’ve heard about the “voice” of our stories. Every editor, agent, and critique partner you will ever deal with will tell you how important voice is. But what is “voice”?

As writers we all want to remain invisible behind the curtain of words we create. But much like a ventriloquist we throw our voice into our work. The characters speak for us. Our voice is carried on the wind that drifts through our scenes, invisible yet touching everything.

Voice should be the part that speaks without words. The feeling that our readers get as they read our works. The thing that makes people say “I got it”.

For those of us that are blessed, our voice is distinct right from the beginning. But most of us, much like a freshman at a new high school, try to force our voice into what we think people want to hear.

We think picture books need a rhyme, so we join a flea and bee on a trip to the sea, but forget that our story needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. Or we think that every underdog story needs an orphan, or a wimp, when really even us average people can overcome things each day.

Next time you sit down to write don’t think about who’s reading your words. That can come later during edits. But speak through your text, and let your voice be heard.