Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton know all about The Voice, when it comes to singers. And we writers must know all about the voice when it comes to writing.
“Trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing at exactly seven minutes past noon on Wednesday, the third of June, flashing a gold badge and driving a Chevy Impala the color of dirt. Almost before the dust had settled, Mr. Jesse turned up dead and life in Tupelo Landing turned upside down."
Though I love reading first person and worry a bit about writing in third, there are plenty of wonderful novels that use third, including A Wrinkle in Time and The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable Fib. These are also on my list to read and study.
Above and beyond your story’s voice is your own personal voice, the voice you develop as an author as you learn your craft and explore your art. That voice is visible in who and what you choose to write about. One way to think of your personal voice is as your personality. Your personality includes things like what kind of news stories you’re attracted to and your sense of humor or lack of it. It’s who you are and how you see the world. If your readers were to meet you, they wouldn’t be surprised that it’s you who wrote their favorite stories.
In some stories, your personal voice will be stronger, up front and center. In other stories, it will be subtle, hiding in the shadows. But always your personal author’s voice will be woven into your story. Your character’s voice will be an extension of your own.
Think of the voice of A Prairie Home Companion’s Garrison Keillor. Not only is his physical voice unique, memorable, and unforgettable, his written voice is too. It demonstrates a shy kindness, full of homespun humor. It’s a voice you’d know anywhere.
We really can’t have a great voice without a point-of-view. I like to think of point of view as two sides of the same coin. Most people think of point-of-view in terms of first person or third person. But on the other side of that point-of-view coin is who is telling the story. A story’s viewpoint character might be that of a ferocious lion, for example. The story can be told in first person or third person, but the point of view remains that of a ferocious lion. The story would be very different if told from the point of view of a shy ant.
We’ll return to point-of-view in another blog, but for now experiment with your voice. Let it sing, loud and strong.
Marsha Diane Arnold is the award-winning author of twelve books that have sold over a million copies. Her latest book Lost. Found received three starred reviews, is a Junior Library Guild selection, and was just selected as a Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year. She enjoys traveling the country visiting schools to share her love of writing and books as well as doing manuscript consultations from her home base in Florida. www.marshadianearnold.com
Meet the Friday Blogonauts
Second Fridays will feature awesome multi-award winning author Marsha Diane Arnold who will be writing about character-driven and/or nature-based books and/or anything she likes :)
Third Fridays will feature independent Aladdin/Simon & Shuster editor Emma Sector who has helped bring many books into the world.
Fourth Fridays will feature the great Christine Taylor-Butler who has published over 70 award-winning fiction and non-fiction and nonfiction books including the acclaimed new middle grade series - The Lost Tribes.
Fifth Fridays will feature the fabulous Carl Angel award-winning multi-published Illustrator and graphic designer.
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