Tag Archives: Writers Voice

The voices in my head

I’ve been hearing a lot about voice lately.  And, no, I’m not taking singing lessons.

One e-group I’m on shared a link designed to tell the user who they write like.  Just submit some text and you have it.  I must be fairly eclectic.  I tried it four times with different sections of Ghost Mountain and got four different answers: Margaret Atwood, H.P. Lovecraft, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Dan Brown.  Not sure what that says about my own voice.  I’ve opted to take it as a positive sign that I combine the best of all of them.

I write like
Ursula K. Le Guin

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Around my house, however, my voice has been sounding a bit like Robin Williams’ version of Adrian Cronauer, the military disc jokey who inspired the movie Good Morning, Vietnam.  Our air conditioning is on the fritz and I’ve been quoting “It’s hot! Damn hot! Real hot!”  As it happens, Mr. Cronauer and I have something else in common — I graduated from the same Department of Defense training school he did…  and with similar unremarkable scores if the rumors are correct.

Another voice has found its way out of my mouth lately, and it’s one that is hard to own up to.  My daughter is getting ready for her senior year of high school and I’ve found myself being possessed by the voices of my own parents.  “How are those college applications coming?”  “Have you been looking for scholarships?”  “What do you expect to do with that major?”  “You know, if you don’t keep your grades up . . .”  I’m trying to avoid those voices, but they do sneak out when I’m least expecting it.

Seven.  That’s seven voices—besides my own— running through my head at any given moment.  Legally insane criminals often say the voice in their head made them commit their heinous acts.  St. Joan of Arc claimed she heard three voices.  I wonder what it means to have seven.

Maybe it just means I’m a writer. . .

Blessings!

Nichole

Nichole Bennett is the author of Ghost Mountain, available on Amazon.com or secondwindpublishing.com

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How Can You Be a Writer if You’re Not a Reader?

I  read a number of blogs. One blog I regularly read is written by an agent. On this particular occasion there was an informal discussion going on between several agents and editors, chatting about a dichotomy between readers and writers. The gist of it was that there were a whole lot of writers out there that weren’t readers. People convinced that they had a “book or two in them.” Or people who feel you can’t read other’s work in your genre because it will interfere with your “voice”

To me, the question has always been how can you effectively write a book if you don’t read them? Base it on TV? Your fascinating life? Because you’re a professional writer on the job?

I write many things professionally, articles, seminars, notes, and lots of reports. I’m writing something every day and while I don’t have the time to read six or more books a week anymore, I do read something everyday. I read for pleasure. I also read to keep an eye out for what is selling, what’s not, styles of writing, and premises used.

I write creatively and have completed two 90k contemporary romance manuscripts of a trilogy and I’m working on a paranormal trilogy. So, I’d say I had “a book or two in me”. I’ve told stories all my life. I come from a very creative family of oral storytellers and published authors.

My love of books came from reading voraciously throughout my life. As a child my parents and grandparents felt to be well read one must read classic literature first. I was also encouraged to branch out and explore various genres, not just one. Consequently, I regularly read various sub-genres of romance, paranormals, suspense and thrillers, and I love Sci-fi. You could say I’m a mood driven reader. I’m the same with music for much of the same reasons-my parents and grandparents.

There is a perception out there that you can’t read another’s words when formulating your stories-something nonsensical about copying the voice or premise, yada yada. To me, that’s BS. My voice is mine and doesn’t change just because I read someone’s work.

I often think about how coaches train their athletes. It isn’t by ignoring the competition. To the contrary, they watch recorded games of the competition so they can be better. Actors know the style of other actors-they watch them. You don’t think musicians aren’t aware of those who produce the same style of music? Or artists aren’t aware of whose style is similar?

As an author, to know what’s marketable you have to read it. Analyze it. That’s keeping your finger on the pulse of market.

I’m a marketing/promotion rep by profession, to sell my products and people; I have to be familiar with what’s out there. Is their product comparable? Better? Worse? How is it packaged? Any book I write is my product and to market it effectively I have to know what’s selling, what my target demographics are and why.

So, you want to be a author? Read. Particularly in your genre. Know what’s selling out there and why.

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