Thursday, October 25, 2012

That Voice Thing

I've decided Patrick Ness is one of the greatest authors on the planet. Not only because his novel A Monster Calls is possibly my favorite book ever, but because I just started his Chaos Walking trilogy, and realized the man is a master of voice. He wrote A Monster Calls in third limited, and did such a good job of it that it reads like first. There's not a single emotion in that book you go through without Conor. But Patrick wrote book one of Chaos Walking, The Knife Of Never Letting Go, in such a way that I'd guess it was a different author if it wasn't equally as compelling. It's first person, and Todd, the protagonist, is uneducated and simple, something you pick up from the first sentence just by the way he 'sounds.' And where Conor 'spoke' in short, sharp paragraphs, Todd tends to ramble (in the best way; I have yet to skim) and go light on the punctuation.

So what? Well, once upon a time (okay, like, maybelastyear) I went Googling for 'voice.' I wanted to know 1) what it was, exactly and 2) how I could improve mine. I found plenty of blogs commending good voice or saying all voices sounded different or what have you, but no one ever said, "This is how you do it." I decided when I found out, I'd write about it and The Mystery Would Be SOLVED for generations of new authors to come (assuming, of course, they randomly ended up at my little blog).

Except that's not going to happen.

Because now that I know what voice is, I can't really tell you how to write it :)

The more I read, the more I've realized voice isn't something you can ever describe, just like you can't say exactly why a certain singer sounds so much better than the others. Good voice simple is. It reads easy, it sounds natural, it compels you to keep going. There's no step-by-step guide; I think it's partially something you're born with, and partially something you develop by reading authors like Patrick Ness and writing, writing, writing.

Who are your favorite voices? Why?

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