Friday, May 16, 2008


Danita asked me to fill in for her today. So you get a double dose of boring me this week. Which brings me to the subject of voice.

When Terry Mclaughlin spoke to our group last month she asked me how I changed my voice between the historical and contemporary stories. And to be truthful- I haven't a clue! I told her by word usuage to not appear as stupified as I was by her question. I never think of voice. I don't know what mine is or how it's changed over the years. I believe, however, it has always been strong, and I've had to work on other elements such as plot and sentence structure.

My first romance book (which is horrid) neither one of the characters really had any GMC other than staying alive. The hero was pretty docile. But I was a finalist in a contest with the love scene. My second romance I finaled in a contest and placed third. Cindy Hwang of Berkley requested the full and rejected saying she loved the characters but the plot was bad. And so it went. Either I received high scores in contests or rock bottom scores, and was told that meant I had a strong voice.
But back to the topic. How does one explain their voice? On the blog this is how each blogger comes across to me. Lori - humorous and fun. Eli - sassy. Alice - the voice of reason. Wavy -perky with wisdom. Karen - intellectual. Genene - entertain as well as inform. Danita - catchy and fun. Lisa- optimistic.

And having read Lori, Alice, Karen, and Danita's longer works- that same voice pretty much comes through with some added nuances.

Is this how you hear your voice? Or are you like me and not really sure how to explain your voice? I'd like to hear others takes on the different bloggers voice to see if I even know what I'm looking for in voice. Or is voice an illusive thing that no one can really put a finger on? Just they either like it or they don't.


Karen Duvall said...

Intellectual? Moi? Gak! I've never thought of myself that way, and don't even think intellectually. I'm not all that smart. I've been told I have an edgy voice, but not an intellectual one. What an interesting observation.

I know my voice has evolved over the course of several books. I'm not as self-conscious about what I write as I used to be, so I write more freely and let the words come naturally to express myself. I've become more focused on what I write instead of how I write. Is that style or voice?

Interesting blog, Paty.

Paty Jager said...

Karen, Terry's analogy or whatever you call it for voice was:

A violin always sounds like a violin whether you are playing classical, bluegrass, or a beginner playing it- that is the violin's voice.

The different types of music you play with the violin is style.

And I don't see your voice as edgy. Unless I just don't know what edgy is....

Genene Valleau said...

Hey, Paty! You're making me think this morning.

My vote goes to voice being an elusive something that's tough define, but you know it when you hear (or read) it. Actually, that answer is the easy way out for me. "Finding" my voice was another part of the writing journey for me.

When I was doing newsletters and writing the column for agency directors, I could mimic their voice fairly easily if I was around them a lot. I knew their stand on various issues. I had their political answers down pat. And I caught glimpses of their personal passions.

As a writer, I think it's those personal passions that give us our voice. As I've grown as a writer, I've worked through what I thought romance was supposed to sound like, to the core values and issues that resonate with me, to being comfortable with those things that are my voice. What's next? Perhaps exploring nuances of that voice or pushing that voice into new territory.

For me, the critical aspect of "voice" is accepting mine and liking it, realizing I can bring a unique perspective that may be valuable and/or entertaining to others. (Thanks for that compliment!)

Right now, my voice is taking it easy as I do edits on my December release. Feels soooo good to be working with a story again. Then it's doggie washing day. Shampoo for one, hair cut and shampoo for two others!

Paty Jager said...

Genene, congrats on the edits and don't get too wet with those doggie baths. I know you have big dogs. Even when I give Tink, who is about 9 lbs and has short hair a bath, I get wet.
Although on a warm day like today... it might be fun!

wavybrains said...

Perky??????????? Hmmm. Perhaps I better go see Eli's stylist and get myself some blonde locks. And oooooh . . . . shop at Hot Topic. :) :)

I'm not sure I've ever been called Perky before. I think I like it. And yeah, I think it probably suits my writing voice.

And you know what's interesting, I can show you legal memos that I wrote for court, and my voice still manages to come through . . . perky and all.

Lori Barber said...

Paty, It's fun to play with voice as long as it doesn't sound like a violin mimicking a screaming cat. Pitch, timbre, intensity, and timing all add mood to our own unique styles. A soothing timbre fashioned around words designed to evoke tears captures one side of the emotional palate, while bold intense strokes charge another. The balance and use of all of these instrumentals strokes a musical masterpiece onto each page we write.

Genene Valleau said...

Couldn't wait until the Saturday check-in to share the news: the edits are DONE and sent to my e-publisher!!!! Wow, does that feel good!

I've been making myself wait to dig into plotting that nine-book series. Now, no more waiting! Well, okay, I have to clear up some of the clutter in my office so I can actually get to easel pad sheets on the walls to use for plotting.

On the canine front, one doggie bathed and two to go. I think soaking wet outside in the sunshine is definitely the way to go for the next two, Paty! Though I'll have to consult with my doggies about that. Woo-hoo!

Alice Sharpe said...

Genene, isn't it a grand feeling? free at last and yet with a project on the horizon? There's nothing better.

Paty Jager said...

Wavy, it's true voice comes through in every thing we write no matter how dry.

Lori, thanks for your thoughts.

Genene, congrats on the edits!!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

I have one question...what does the picture of the near-naked cowboy have to do with voice?????

ROFL, Wavy. Go for some blond hot locks! ;)

Interesting post, Paty, and I think your descriptions of each of our voices is pretty accurate. My voice is sassy, and that's my normal voice, not just my writing. It'll be interesting to see how that translates after my books come out. I think people either like sassy or they don't. ;)

I'm a lot like Karen. My voice has evolved as I've written more. I knew when I'd let my "real" voice shine through my writing. It was when I was in the middle of writing my fifth manuscript - also the one that landed me my contract. It just felt different, because I wasn't trying to hard to write like someone else.

Genene - congrats on finishing the edits!