Last week a unique voice died.
Actually, each of us has a unique voice, but writers often hear that agents and editors are looking for a “new” voice, or that it’s “voice” they’re interested. I’m never quite sure what that means, and I’m not sure they know, either. What I do know is I like reading some writers more than others, and that I can recognize certain writers by their “voice.”
Voice, in my opinion, is made up of the words we choose, the sentence structure that predominates our stories, even the subject matter. It’s style and content.
Ever notice when someone you know phones, how even without caller ID you immediately recognize the person? Or when you see someone you know walking in the distance, you know who it is? With vocal voice, it might be the pitch and the greeting. With body movement, it might be the profile of the body or the type of step. For me, it’s the same with the written voice. There are certain elements that are uniquely mine, uniquely yours.
I guess some writers can change their voice. I know I change certain aspects of my writing when I switched from pure romance to mystery; nevertheless, I think there are more similarities than differences. The style might be different, but not my delivery.
I know there are certain people I like listening to. There’s a retired lawyer from the south. Whenever he reads part of his wip I sit back and relax and enjoy the cadence and subtle humor. On the other hand, there are some voices that grate on my nerves; they seem to go on and on and just won’t get to the point. We each have our preferences and our personal styles. That’s why there are so many different writers and types of books.
My friend who died (actually, she was more of an acquaintance but she felt like a friend) had a stream of conscious style of writing that I loved. She could make me smile even when writing about a serious subject. Ironically, the last piece she wrote that I read was about dying. Here’s a bit of it to give you a sample of her voice.
[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”auto” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]This subject is a bit of a drag. Would it be appropriate to consume more wine to loosen up my brain? Would it be disrespectful?
Anyway, I was interrupted by a phone call, but I now have two more sayings. “Kick the bucket” and “croak.” They both seem like country sayings, and they stir up weird visions. But again, as I am wont to do, I wander.[/dropshadowbox]
She often wandered in her writing. That was part of her “voice.” So. today my blog is my farewell to a voice I will miss. I’ll end with the last line of her essay.
The last stage of grief is acceptance. And that’s a good feeling. I hope we all get there soon. Rest in peace…
My feelings exactly, Charli. Rest in peace.