By Raji Singh (editor, archivist, archeo-apologist, Fiction House Publishing)
Psychologists will tell you “ignore those eerie, Halloween-ish voices that try to creep through your ears and into your brain.” A writing instructor will tell you “listen for the written ‘voice’ that is in the book of the good writer you are reading.” The act of doing so will help you find your writer’s ‘voice’ if you haven’t already.
It’s great to find, and continually hone your writing voice, but don’t be afraid to vary it. Voice can serve so many purposes. Whether you’re e-mailing a letter, writing a technical report, short story, novel, screenplay, poem – even a note in a bottle to a hoped-for reader on another continent – using a varied voice can make your subject more dramatic, colorful, precise, cryptic, just about whatever you want it to be to make it more interesting.
Everyone loves something of interest. Therefore, readership for you.
What is voice? The unique sound of an author. The writer’s use of voice makes the subject enjoyable, and vivid.
Help establish your voice by how you describe your unique vision. Utilize the five senses – touch, sight, hearing, taste, smell. Ask yourself, who is my audience? Write with them in mind, but don’t pander to them.
Voice defined via example:
The narrator in To Kill a Mockingbird: She reveals human emotions through a quiet, understanding voice.
The young man storyteller of Zorba the Greek. He seeks personal discovery through an objective voice that lays bear his foibles.
Newspaper columns offer excellent examples.
Anna Quindlen’s consistent voice – its constant questioning of relationships and their complicated layering delves into the impermanence of life, and the importance of being part of life at every moment.
Even the sometimes crabby Abby’s voice – a mix of stern-kind. She succeeds with her readers who seek self-improvement. For others, she’s just plain interesting.
A thing all these writers have in common: A strong voice that they’re astute at varying so a reader hardly, or if ever, notices. This makes them interesting to read. And that’s a cardinal rule of all writing. BE INTERESTING.
As I’m discovering more and more about the over a century of writers at Fiction House Publishing, I’m realizing what makes the Founder’s, ‘Blackjack’ Fiction’s chief writer, his notoriously eccentric half-brother William ‘Golden Boy’ Golden (sometimes Willamina) by far the most successful.
Golden Boy embraces the use of various voices. Using one voice, he could write with the flow of Flaubert. Another he entertains with the panache of Cyrano. He changes styles almost instantly, in narrative and in dialogue, creating ‘mood’ he desires. He makes it quickly discernible to the reader, so to make his audience always-anxious participants in the story.
At one point, he’ll be the deep-voiced macho Mickey Spillane-Ernest Hemingway narrator.
Another, he switches, from first person Golden to second person Willamina, to castigate testosterone egos of men. Then he’ll utilize Willamina’s chameleon dialogue to add humor to the situation.
For Golden Boy, William-Willamina humorous examples of how to utilize voice, or just for some entertaining laughs, see today’s, October 7, 2012, Tales of the Fiction House website posting entitled ARCHIVING THE FICTION HOUSE – WILLAMINA’S SHADY SUITORS.
©Raji Singh 2012