Lee Child on Voice

I made a promise to myself to expose myself more to what the veterans of the publishing industry had to say about writing.

I’ve done this through various ways. Reading blog posts, downloading articles from online workshops, attending SA Writers College, gaining insight from being a member of ROSA, social network groups and platforms (especially Pinterest *smile*) etc.

Recently I watched a Master Class Lee Child gave back in 2012 and he made a comment on something I’ve wondered about since starting my writing journey. He made this interesting comment on an Author’s Voice.



“People talk about Voice, as if Voice was some kind of generic or vague word meaning style or something similar to that…Voice is literally a voice. Voice is someone sitting there apposite you telling you a story. Is their voice engaging? Is their accent pleasant? Is their delivery exciting? That is what a good voice is, isn’t it? It directly relates to that history of oral storytelling.”



When I heard him say this, simplifying what I’ve heard and read so many editors, authors, agents and publishers have explained, it just clicked in my head. See here’s the thing, I’ve always linked an Author’s Voice with their personality. How they engage with people on a regular basis when they speak to them. If they sat in a social setting at a round table, what would their speaking voice sound like? I assumed that this speaking voice was what everyone meant at first, but then I started ‘studying writing’ and it became all about style and all these complicated concepts that bogged my mind.

My initial impression hadn’t been off point. In fact as a layman I had understood Voice better than I did four years later.

So thank you Lee Child for bringing me back to what Voice is *smile*

Now in my search for knowledge someone mentioned (because I can’t remember who it was) that people who start writing from an early age, has a good grasp on what their Voice ‘sounds’ like. I wrote my first story at fourteen. When I think of the type of novel it was, all the elements it had and how the story was told, the Voice hadn’t changed to the point where you wouldn’t be able to tell it was me who wrote it all those years ago.

I do believe the more you write, the better you’ll become at ‘discovering’ what your storytelling voice is. And here’s another thing we all know, but I’m going to say it again. What people find pleasant and engaging and exciting is subjective. The variety of books out there speaks of this. So I do believe there’s a place for every Author’s Voice.
The next step for us is to refine it, to own it and to be unapologetic about it *wink*


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