Wednesday, August 6, 2014

LDStorymakers Conference Notes: Voice

Originally posted on the Operation Awesome blog, May 2014.

One of my favorite classes--it was so full I had to sit on the floor--was taught by Lisa Mangum (you can find her books here), called Voice: How to Make Your Manuscript Sing. These are my notes from the class.

Readers want to hear the story the way the author intended and not from anyone else.

What is voice? 
  • The quality that makes your writing unique, conveys the author's personality and attitude. 
  • The characteristic speech and thought patterns of a narrator.
What it isn't?
  • Style
What's the difference?
  • Voice = what you have to say
  • Style = how you choose to say it
Example:

My voice says "Love is eternal and the choices you make matter." You can say it in the style of a YA Romance or a horror novel about a serial killer. Same voice, different style.

Voice and style are different but more powerful when used together.
  • Voice = lyrics
  • Style = melody
Changing the style can help change how people hear your voice. If you pick the wrong style, your voice will be unbelievable.

Be selective about the words you give voice to and the words you use to showcase your style.

Quote from Gary Provost: "This sentence has five words." Read the full quote here.

It's all about perspective and what you focus on. I loved this example. :)



Choose wisely--The Details Matter

  • Pacing
  • Scenery
  • Dialogue
  • Characters
  • Narration
  • Action
Be intense--Evoke strong emotions
  • Pour yourself into it.
  • A book is based in emotion. A good book will inspire strong emotions in the reader.
  • It's hard to inspire strong emotions when you say it like everyone else says it. Push past cliches.
How do you feel?

Quote from Jeff Goins: "Pay attention to how you're feeling." You can read the full quote here and get some other great advise for finding your voice.

Strive for deep creativity.

Quote from Elizabeth Bluemle: "It's inspiring to come upon books that make something fresh of the same old words we all use." You can read the full quote and another great article on voice here.

Be Notorious
What are you know for? Homework.

  • Jot down five books you like to read. How are they alike and how are they different? What is it about them that intrigues you? Often what we admire is what we desire to be.
  • Describe yourself in three adjectives. Does your writing reflect that?
Be Genuine

Speak to word--the word is all of us
  • We are storytellers
  • Be brave enough to use your voice and say something
  • Find the right words and right style and your voice will ring clear and true
A Writer's Voice

Quote from Patricia Lee Gauch: "A writer's voice is not character alone, it is not style alone; it is far more.  A writer's voice line the stroke of an artist's brush- is the thumbprint of her whole person- her idea, wit, humor, passions, rhythms."  

Your Voice is Your Voice

Quote from Donald Maass, Writing the Breakout Novel: "To set your voice free, set your words free." You can read the full quote and an excerpt from the book here.

Practice, practice, practice and fail a lot. 

And that's it. I hope it was helpful to some of you. Be sure to check out Lisa's books and follow her on Twitter.

Thanks for reading! Anything anyone wants to add?