Sunday, March 20, 2011

Voice workshop! Part 1

My critique group has spent the past week doing a workshop on voice. At first we were hesitant to do this, as none of us feel particularly expert. But we decided to forge ahead, and I think we’ve all learned a lot. I have, anyhow! Here’s an overview of what we did, and some of the things I learned in the process.

Day 1: Definitions.

Read and discuss articles that ARE written by experts on what voice is and how you develop it. Here are links to the articles we read:

Editor Caroline Meckler on voice: (EXCELLENT, clear definition of voice and its aspects--read this first)

Editor Martha Mihalick on voice:

Verla Kay discussion:

Margot Finke on character voice:

Cheryl Klein on voice: (and read the comments, too, because there are some good ideas down there)

And an interesting writer's take on critiquing voice:

We concluded that there was such a thing as author voice, and also such a thing as character voice. Author voice is like your face. It’s YOU. The YOU-ist You you can write. Character voice (or even different kinds of voice for different books) is like different clothing or hairstyles. People will react to you differently and expect different things from you based on how you look, or what kind of voice your book has. It’s important for your characters to all have their own voice.

Strong, exact nouns and verbs tend to be important for voice.

Voice is rooted in character.

You can have such a thing as strong voice and yet not everyone will like it. Voice subject to taste.

Voice helps you get inside a character’s head. The more in a character’s head you are, the more you feel, which usually affects how much you like a book. (Of course, if you find the character annoying, you might not want to stick around. Like I said, it’s subjective.)

To see what others in my group have to say about it all, check out the following blog:

Sandy Carlson, starting with this post.
Jaclyn McMahon's take here.

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