What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror? Wrinkles, the bags under your eyes and other flaws… or are you happy with your reflection because it shows the wisdom you have gathered with the mileage?
Maybe you want to be perceived through your work? You tap away on the keyboard, send the manuscript to the publisher, and they take care of the rest while you write the opening line of your next bestseller in your dusty chamber.
I’d be happy with that.
Perhaps you love the internet and it loves you back. The top agent snatches you off the market because of the enormous following you’ve attracted in Social Media, and the rest is history.
Most writers- people- fall somewhere in between. You can hire someone to do publicity. Many learn the secrets of Indie-marketing through hard work. The public persona of a writer is a mask. You’ll find the intimate person between the pages of his/her books.
You On The Page
Writing a book is a massive endeavor which exhausts any creator. When the storylines run dry, and the tenth editing round tastes like shit, you must use your history to dig up fresh ideas. How does one pour himself on the pages of the book?
When you read the work of world-class writers, you hear a human voice which speaks to you. You sense the writer’s soul- the life which she led. Sometimes the tones are subtle, and you don’t understand where everything is coming from until you grab her autobiography. Lessons in World War molded the writer’s voice of Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, and Marguerite Duras. When you look at their work, it’s obvious.
The effort to separate your persona from your writing is futile. You’re working against yourself if you try to hide who you are. It makes no difference if you write a memoir (riveted with true scandals), or a future story unlike anything in the history of Sci-Fi. When you are serious about the art of literature, you must develop a unique writer’s voice.
“The writer’s voice is not something you can measure, it’s subjective. But, even so, possible to be defined and identified.”
The literary agent, Rachel Gardner, defines the writer’s voice: “Your writer’s voice is the expression of YOU on the page.”
- should reflect you: what you feel and believe; what moves you.
- The tone in your writing is the most important element of your voice.
- Your voice is the rhythm that prints the pace of the text.
- You learn to be a better writer, you change genres, but whatever you write, your voice is always a central element.
The voice is still elusive despite all the explaining. The voice is like Zeitgeist, the spirit of the times. It’s something you’ll learn by writing several books and short stories and blogs. You recognize the voice of Stephen King or J. K. Rowling. It’s the common denominator of a career.
Common Elements Vs. Your Voice
Mastering the art of literature demands that you use the excellent writer’s toolset: Consistent Point of View, Showing Not Telling, and answering the Spiritual Question, in the end- to provide a few examples. If you don’t abide by the rules, the reader gets thrown out of your book.
How do you characterize your hero/heroine? Remember, what moves you is an essential part of the writer’s voice. Some main characters appeal to you more than the others.
- The willing hero- James Bond
- The unwilling hero- Frodo Baggins
- The tragic hero- Oedipus
- The classical hero- Wonder Woman
- The epic hero- Beowulf
- The antihero- Tony Soprano (one of my all-time favorites)
What is your book’s plot type? Adrienne Lafrance describes archetypal plot arcs as ‘core types of narratives based on what happens to the protagonist.’
The six core types are:
- Rags to riches (a complete rise)
- Riches to rags (a fall)
- Man in a hole (fall, then rise)
- Icarus (rise, then fall)
- Cinderella (rise, then fall, then rise)
- Oedipus (fall, then rise, then fall)
Again, your choice describes you as a person and writer.
I’m pro-message when it comes to writing books. My favorite thesis as a dystopian writer is: “Humanity will never learn,” preferably pronounced with the deep voice of Morgan Freeman echoing into the void. Why? It has something to do with being me. Maybe my life experiences molded a cynical worst-case personality, or I just fell in love with dystopian literature as a fourteen-year-old. Go figure, but I’ve woven myself into the book I’m writing.
My second book will be a supernatural spy thriller. War and sacrifice shall continue to entice me. That’s my writer’s voice going through the loops of natural evolution.
My suggestions for nurturing the elusive ghost of the writer’s voice:
- Write about things which excite or scare you.
- Convey a message through your theme.
- Arouse awareness of injustice.
- Reveal your moral beliefs.
- Pour yourself into the characters.
- Observe the character traits of people you know.
- Use your life experiences, hobbies and professional knowledge to build the setting and plot.
- Visit places similar to the environment of your book. Smell, observe, feel.
- Write what you’d love to read.