I want you to consider this: every book has a voice. Every single one. Even the ones that stay as unobtrusively out of your way as possible. Every book speaks in its own particular way, some more flamboyantly than others, of course, but every book is talking away, most especially when you’re writing it.
And I’m not talking just about first person books written in vernacular, either. If you’re struggling a bit with your daily writing, have you thought about the voice of your book? Here’s an exercise I do when I teach: stop for a minute and think about the accents you have within your immediate reach. I’ll bet it’s more than you might think.
Struggling an Everyday Writing
I, for example, was raised in the Pacific Northwest of the US (accent one). My mother, though, is from the deep south (accent two). My paternal grandfather was Norwegian (accent three). My partner is from middle England (accent four). My closest friend, and best man at my wedding, is from Cork (accent five). And I have another close friend from Christchurch (accent six).
Six separate distinct accents with barely any effort. And I know these people well; I know how they talk. I’ll bet you do, too: maybe you have a Scottish grandmother, a French daughter-in-law, a Lankan boyfriend, a Korean colleague. Really, even the most cursory look should supply an easy fistful.
Benefits of Writing From Your Head
Now, get that person in your head, get them chatting away, and then write a scene where they get bitten by a dog. What do they say? How do they describe it? What’s the voice of their little scene?
Now try it again with someone else you know. See how different the two scenes are? Because they’re not just speaking their accents, are they? If they did, they’d just be caricatures (and those are poison to your story and must be avoided at all costs).
But you know them, don’t you? And therefore you know more than just their accent. You know their vocabulary and style, their particular syntax and mood, their humor, their history, their – wait for it – voice.
- The exercise is simple. Turn to page ten, to the paragraph that starts, ‘I got there before them.’ Got it? Now take that whole paragraph and rewrite it in the voice of your person.
- How does it change? How does the energy change? How do the words and sentences change? How different a scene does it become because you’ve changed its voice?
- Do it again, but this time rewrite it in the voice of the book you’re writing, even if it’s plain old third person omniscient. How does it change? How does your voice tell this story?
Interesting, isn’t it? And maybe not what you expect. Were you able to do it? Easily? If not, then maybe that’s a problem. Maybe your story’s voice isn’t quite strong enough yet. Maybe you’re holding back from committing to it fully. Well, stop that. Commit to it, beef it up, be confident in it. If you have any troubles with plagiarism you can always use a help from different writing services like https://essay-writing-service.co.uk or look for a similar one.
I ask again, how does your book sound? If you don’t know, find out. Because once you know, some days it becomes as easy as sitting down and setting it talking. Then basically you’re just hoping you can type fast enough to copy down what it says as the story tells itself…