Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Voice Redux


In an effort to promote the HONE YOUR SKILLS Blogfest, Charity and I will be hosting a few different guest posts over the month. Be sure to drop by this Friday for a post from Theresa Milstein, and next week from Hart Johnson.

* * * *

On Thursday, I had a frustrated/frustrating moment, when I revealed to you all my sheer inability to convey voice in 3rd person limited (although I wrote "omniscient", as my frustration overwhelmed the synapses between the cells in my brain).

You were all awesomely supportive, and I thank you all for your thoughts. Through the various comments and thoughts, I realized a few things that might help in developing a 3rd person limited voice. And, well, it would be highly unfair of me to keep it to myself....

So a 3rd person limited narrator whose voice is true both to the personality of the character as well as the narrator itself. I can't tell you which voice is easier to come by, but if you feel like you have a strong voice on your blog—not sure why this never sunk in with me before—then you've got a good start.

Synthesizing your voice with the character's voice is the next step. In order to do this, you need to have a good sense of the character's voice. A good way to do this is to write a few scenes in 1st person, even if those scenes will never see the light of day.

Of course, creating the actual synthesis is another task. Unfortunately it's not one I've had a chance to try my hand at since Thursday (I promise—you don't want to hear about how much work-life exploded into 80-90hr weeks). However, a few good examples:
  • Harry Potter: JK Rowling follows Harry through seven years, and the voice is true throughout each book. 
  • The Hating Game by Talli Roland. I can't begin to tell you how impressed I am with her skills with voice. I'm barely finding time to sneak in a few minutes with my Kindle App, but I can't wait to read it again. So far, the narrator has been close to three characters. With each character, the voice of the narration adjusts to personality of each character, but the narrator's voice is always there, too.

Does any of that make sense, or is it still too hypothetical?

What books have you read with great 3rd limited voice?


Ted Cross said...

When I sit down to type out a new chapter, I try to pretend to myself that I am that character. I write as if everything I 'see', 'touch', taste', etc. is really happening to me right then, and I am unaware of anything else. In some ways it's like playing out a scene in a movie in my mind.

Jules said...

Makes sense to me :) and Happy Valentine's Day!
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Carol Riggs said...

Ah, I really am going to have to read Talli's book! (it's on my TBR list). I have to check out that diff voice in character but with the same overall voice. I'm supposing the "overall voice" is merely Talli's writing style. Curious!

Happy Valentine's day, Rosie!

Hart Johnson said...

You'll get there! I'm been going through my MS trying to make sure voice is right, too. I find I'm a pushy narrator and sometimes these poor kids end up thinking in terms too mature for them. I was good on dialog all through, but it is definitely still a challege to catch the ME words in there.

Marsha Moore said...

Argh, sorry it's taken me so long to make it over here! #fail!

Thank you so much for your lovely words. I struggled so much with each section, rewriting again and again until I felt the voice was right for each character. I'm so happy it worked for you!

Marsha Moore said...

Ah, bugger! I thought I was signed into Talli Roland instead of the real me. Sorry! :)

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