Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On Voice

I don't usually do book reviews. Nor do I throw a book up and shout, "You MUST read this book!" But I'm going to make an exception today. So often as writers, we're looking for that elusive voice, the magic narrative that makes agents and editors melt into puddles of goo. The voice that causes readers to line up in droves, salivating for our words. Voice can't be taught. It's not like grammar, or spelling. You can't hone voice the way you can a story arc or plot twist. Voice is voice. You can't fake it. That may sound cryptic, but it's true. You've either got it, or you don't.

Voice comes from letting your guard down. From saying, "Screw it! This is who I am, who my character is, and I'm throwing down!" Voice is the truest part of you that flows through your thoughts, your personality, and your imaginings as you slowly wear the letters off your keyboard. And letting go of your writerly inhibitions and allowing your voice to flow is scary as hell.

Read FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT, by Darynda Jones. I'm telling you, from the first sentence, you'll be hooked. Ms. Jones knows her MC,  Charley Davidson like the back of her hand. The narrative flows easily, Charley's personality comes through with amazing clarity, and through Charley, Ms. Jones tells one hell of a good story. I have to say, this book is one of the best examples of narrative voice I've ever read. It's no wonder this book won the Golden Heart in 2009. I'm hooked. The next installment of this series can't come fast enough for me. Ms. Jones, I'm salivating for book 2. ;)


funny in the 'hood said...

Totally downloading this. Thanks for the recommendation :)


Jenna said...

Thanks for the rec! I'll have to check it out.

D. U. Okonkwo said...

Wow - great review post and will look out for this.

Matthew MacNish said...

Awesome. Great review.

For me voice is all about authority. Have the courage to be yourself, and it will shine through, if you have one.

Jennifer Hillier said...

So true - voice is voice. It sucks you in or it doesn't. Great review!

And not that this has anything to do with anything, but I love those sandals on the cover!