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Finding My Voice by Veronica Jorge

December 22, 2019 by in category Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as ,

I didn’t lose my voice. I just can’t find the heart of my story or the right words to express it.


Like teenagers talking all at once, ideas wave before my eyes vying for attention and making me dizzy. I blink them away because I sense they are distracting me from finding the jewel I seek. I silence them using the voice of my 8th grade teacher. “Empty barrels make the most noise.” They flutter away. It’s silent now.


Silence. What is it they say about silence? Silence is golden. Aha, the treasure I seek. Which reminds me of a line from the 1956 musical film by Rodgers and Hammerstein, The King and I. In a pregnant romantic moment between King Mongkut played by Yul Brynner and Mrs. Anna portrayed by Deborah Kerr, the king says, “When one does not know what to say, it is a time to be silent.”


Sage advice. So I quiet all of my thoughts and emotions. In that silence, I hear a sound of rushing waters. Then music trickles out like a spring, new and refreshing. It is my voice.


My fingers tinkle the keys of my laptop. Like musical notes, I string the letters together to form the right words.


A vision of Disney’s The Little Mermaid appears before me. Ariel has lost her voice and found her prince. I smile for it was in her silence that she touched and won his heart.


See you next time on January 22nd. Happy New Year!
Veronica Jorge

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Voice, Style, Tone

August 19, 2017 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as , , ,

Voice, Style and Tone | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

 

As much advice exists about how to write as about how to vote. TMI? Sometimes it makes me long for a cabin near Walden Pond, a quill pen and a stack of foolscap. (Not really sure what that is but I love the word!) In my experience the best approach is to just write – and then go back and right your writing. Edit.

Voice, Style, and Tone Are All Critical

There’s so much to be aware of when you edit what you’ve written. From the macro view voice, style and tone are all critical. Explanations of those elements vary but we all know they each impact our writing. Some definition is required to make the concepts applicable; for me, style and voice are like fraternal twins – really close but not exactly the same.

Voice and Style

As an editor I’m dialed into the author’s voice after the first three paragraphs of a manuscript. As a reader I know within the first three pages if I like an author’s voice – just like we all know what music we like. Voice is a reflection of the author’s mind and personality and like minds and personality, it develops and matures with age. Depending on the writer’s level of skill and experience I can hear a strong voice, or a well-emulated voice or a developing voice. If I hear a voice that’s not distinct and consistent the writer and I work toward finding her natural rhythm for word choice, phrasing, even punctuation – her voice.

Voice shifts from 3rd person narrative to dialog and differs between characters. Look carefully at the voice of each character. Does the language suit the character? A pierced and tattooed good time girl speaks differently than a buttoned up college professor. An author’s style often changes from story to story, but the voice is always there. I think voice comes from the gut and it grows and develops and gets better with use. Style is more a conscious effort and is changeable from book to book depending on what the story needs.

Tone

Tone is less ephemeral. It’s the mood. Every plot has an overall tone and under that umbrella each scene has a tone appropriate to the action; dialog reflects tone. Tone is what moves the emotions of the story. When you read over your 1000 words per day listen to be sure the tone is always appropriate. A cozy mystery has a murder, of course, but the tone is off if it is described in the tone of a gritty noir.

The body lay crumpled at the foot of the staircase. Pepper drew a sharp breath. There was so much blood.
Versus
Sgt. Pepper stared critically at the broken and bloodied body. The fall down the staircase alone was fatal; the twenty or so bloody gashes were overkill.

Edit

If, at the end of the writing day, you listen with a critical ear you’ll hear your voice, feel the style, sense the moods and know if each is clear and appropriate. If not, then this is the time to right what you write.

Jenny Jensen
Editor
www.e-bookeditor.com


Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange
With a BA in Anthropology and English I pursued a career in advertising and writing and segued into developmental editing. It was a great choice for me. I love the process of creating and am privileged to be part of that process for so many great voices — voices both seasoned and new.

I’ve worked on nearly 400 books over 20 years, books by noted authors published by New York houses including Penguin, Kensington, Pentacle and Zebra as well as with Indie bestsellers and Amazon dynamos. From Air Force manuals and marketing materials to memoirs, thrillers, sci fi and romance, my services range from copyediting to developmental coaching.

Having worked in advertising and marketing, I am always cognizant of the marketplace in which the author’s work will be seen. I coach for content and style with that knowledge in mind in order to maximize sales and/or educational potential. My objective is to help the author’s material stand out from an ever more crowded and competitive field.

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FINDING YOUR VOICE

April 15, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , ,

“I don’t even have to see the cover of the book to know I’m reading one of your novels.”
That was the nicest compliment a reader has ever paid me. After years of practice, success and failures, constantly trying to improve my writing, it was wonderful to know that I had finally crossed a threshold: I had found my voice. For other arts, voice is almost instantly identifiable. Fine artists, for instance, communicate through color choice and brush stroke; for musicians it is in melody and instrumentation. For writers creating a recognizable voice is a bit trickier.
Our art cannot be covered up by color nor enhanced by sound; it cannot be appreciated with a mere glance or as background to another chore. A reader must invest time, attention and money to appreciate our work. These limitations make voice critical to our success in an increasingly crowded field. If we do not connect with our reader, drawing them in with our words, format construction and storytelling, they will dismiss us and move on to someone who does.
Voice is personal and intimate. Writing in a true voice puts the author on a limb and opens her to both praise and criticism. We wouldn’t write if we weren’t willing to take a chance that our voice will touch someone, move them to action, make them think, make them cry, but it is a gamble whether our most honest voice will be appreciated. If you’re ready to take a bold step, to write with abandon, to search for your true voice, here are a few thoughts that might help you find it.
Identify what you love about your favorite author. Is it pace? Characterization? Expository talent? Emulate, never copy, her style. A reader doesn’t want a cookie cutter author; they want a refreshing voice that reminds them of their favorite author.
Recognize your verbal comfort zone. Some authors embrace analogy, metaphore and any number of literary conceits; some don’t. If you’re comfortable with short clipped sentences in the vernacular, embrace that style and make it yours.
Establish your energy level. Does your first sentence slap your reader upside the head, or do you prefer a long, slow climb that settles the reader before you let them into the fray? Whichever it is, don’t let anyone try to change that.
Voice is not just a writing style it is point of view that is shared in dialogue choices, character and plot development.
Be proud of your voice. There is no right voice for an author or a genre. Evidence? Epic romances share space with glitz and glamour and all of it gave rise to chic lit. Each author’s voice was valid in the genre in its heyday, and each was unique and fresh when they hit the scene so do not discount yours if it doesn’t match the mainstream.

It is your job to discover your voice. Explore it. Nurture it. Refine it. Claim it. Present it. Be proud of it.

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