Girls Write Out
Wednesday, September 07, 2011

One of the most important elements that will make a book all your own is voice. But voice isn't talked about a lot because it develops naturally over the course of your writing life. Think of your favorite authors and how strong their voice is -- how they can take a perfectly boring subject and entertain.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
Jane Austen

Jane has it all: humor, social commentary and an indication as to where her story is going. All in one line. That is serious voice.

So how do you find YOUR voice? Well, as I said, it develops naturally, but I wrote many a book before figuring out that my voice was in first-person. My strength is in commentary and the dialogue of humor. To pinpoint your voice, practice this way: Take your protagonist and have them write out their thoughts and views on life. It's separate from your story. This is just for practice.

Is your protagonist's viewpoint strong on setting? Emotion? Angst? Fear? Do the beats of how he/she speaks ring in your ear? Or is it something you see on paper. Look at how your sentences are structured. Are they long? Do you enjoy beautiful prose and metaphors? Are they short and choppy with many beats? This is how you develop voice. Voice takes a simple story to the next level. And no. There's no reason for the Colin Firth picture -- other than do you need a reason for Mr. Darcy, ever? I think not.

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posted at 10:14 AM  
  Comments (9)
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At 10:41 AM, Blogger Barb said...

LOVE the picture! Oh, and did you say something else about writing? j/k

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

I love your voice, K! Especially in first person.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

LOL love it Barb, and thanks D!

At 11:53 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

LOL, Kris. I knew when I saw this picture it was you writing the blog--even though I forgot what day it was. I need pictures like this when I'm writing. I make a character out of photos and people I've known and tragedies I want to turn into triumphs.

At 2:59 AM, Blogger Helen said...

No, you definitely don't ever need an excuse for Mr Darcy!

Thanks for the post Kristin ... and not just for the picture :P

By the way, I LOVE your voice, I'm glad you found it!

At 3:48 AM, Blogger Ruthie said...

LOVE the picture! Nothing like a little eye candy to end one's day! LOL

I've struggled over the years with voice, though I, too, am a "first-person" woman. Writing in the first person also gives me the excuse of not having to go into crazy details about every character and every situation. I easily get bored with that type of writing, even my own. Thus, as you can gather, I wrote short stories. However, even there I've struggled since I like to write like the Apostle Paul: long and verbose! My poor protagonist has to come up for air sometime so I had to force myself to learn to write differently.

It was hard but one of the best writing exercises for me was to try to write in short, choppy sentences that a 1st grader could read and comprehend. Then I would try to find the middle ground and that's how my protagonist spoke. Another exercise that I learned during freshman college English was to read my writing out loud. If I could complete a sentence in 2 breaths or less, then I was doing fine. If I required 3 pauses or more for breathing, my sentence was too long and I needed to edit it. Still works for me today even though I don't write much any more.

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Ruthie, I've never heard that before. Since I'm a long winded writer (and talker once I get going) that's excellent advice. Why don't you write much anymore?

At 1:50 AM, Blogger Ruthie said...

Cheryl, I don't write much any more because the many medications I have to take affect my thinking capacity and attention span. Even in my knitting I can only do a row or two without needing to stop and rest or do something else. On top of that, my pain medication jumbles my brain sometimes, especially if I have to take a lot. So I will leave the writing to you "young'ns" and enjoy what you write. *smile*

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

That has to be frustrating, Ruthie, but we'll all keep trying to write the kinds of books you like to read. I actually love reading more than writing, so just enjoy! That'll give us the most satisfaction.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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