Characterizing my Writer’s Voice

UPDATE: The novel, Pleasing María, is blogged on this website. To view the Table of Contents, click here. To go directly to the first chapter, click here. To read the latest novel post, click here.

In a previous blog post at GuyOrdinary.com, I wrote “… and I believe I wrote our story in a strong and unique voice” without really knowing what that meant or what claim I had to having a ‘unique voice’. At the time, I thought it was just a style and attitude in writing that made my novel uniquely mine. Since then, I have looked at dozens of novels by other authors and seen both vast differences and many similarities to my style. Quite frankly, I began to doubt the uniqueness of my ‘voice’, still unable to define what ‘voice’ is nor to be able to characterize my ‘voice’ in my ignorance.

With a few internet searches, I found many relevant articles, and disregarding the fact that their authors defined ‘voice’ in ambiguous and general terms (and often didn’t agree), I condensed their collective wisdom down to the following attributes: distinctive, original, authentic, personality, attitude, exceptional.

When I read that list, I immediately think of the pop singer, Shakira, when she sings in Spanish. There’s nobody else with her unique voice (although her singing in English is quite ordinary). Shakira has a talent for combining words into lyrics that exploit the rhythm and romanticism inherent in the Spanish language, and then she sings them with an edginess, an attitude, that can only be cheaply imitated by others. One of her first albums best exemplifies her ‘voice’, IMHO. My goal is to be a Shakira in my writing.

My novel, Pleasing María, poured out of my sub-consciousness directly to my fingers on the keyboard essentially bypassing my conscious mind. Does that make it authentic and personal? Certainly. Distinctive? Original? Perhaps. Attitude? Probably. My unique voice? Absolutely. Exceptional? Someday soon, my readers will tell me.

If the information in these posts is useful to you, please let me know. If you’d like to receive announcements of future blog posts, join the mailing list on the right side of this page. To contact me directly, reply to this post, or click on the CONTACT PLEASING MARIA link at the top of this page. Visit GuyOrdinary.com for my comments about the marketing of my novel. If you know of good solutions to the problems I’m trying to solve, please contact me. Good luck with your novel!

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One thought on “Characterizing my Writer’s Voice

  1. Charley Daveler

    I once had a creative writing teacher tell me that it’s important not to think about voice because he spent too much time worrying about it, but I didn’t entirely agree. There are some writers who focus on being like other authors because they think that’s all writing is, or they try to be objective and neutral, or just not themselves out of self-loathing. People say that voice isn’t as important as story, but I think everyone errs in one way or the other and I’ve met many readers who need a better ‘voice’ (as you said, whatever that means). Yes, there’s such at thing as trying too hard, but it’s definitely something to be considered. Good post!

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