Thursday, June 30, 2005

Voice

I started writing when I was about 12 or 13. I remember sitting the jump seat of my folks' Datsun king cab pick up and scribbling away while we navigated across southern California looking for the perfect rattan furniture. As I passed from high school to college, I kept writing, all of it terrible and pointless.

Or so I thought.

I took a hiatus from reading and writing romance. It lasted about, hmmm, ten years. I was too busy working, dating, partying with my friends, living the life of a 20 something in L.A. Wish I could remember it ;). Anyway, after my second child, I got the urge to write again and dove back in with true commitment. My first endeavor was pretty crappy, but it was a complete ms. As bad as it was, I was told by kind and gentle contest judges I had a "lively" voice. I had no idea what that means (I still don't) and it took me awhile to see my "voice." So where is this leading?

About a week or so ago I was doing some filing in my writing file box when I ran into the last WIP I worked on back in my early 20's. The ink is faded and the perforation separating each page is falling apart. Streamers of paper hang from it because it was a dot matrix document and it ran through a roller. But for a hoot I picked it up and started reading. Whoa! I found narrative using the exact same language as what I use now. The structure was the same, the "voice" of the story was easily identifiable as my own.

It was a humbling and exciting discovery. I think as writers we really worry about our voice and finding it. But sometimes, I think, it is there, we just don't see it. It's comforting for me to know I have a voice and it can be "seen" by a reader. It gives me one less thing to worry about in my writing. I recommend to any writer struggling with the concept of voice to go ahead and read through old material, even if it reeks beyond all imagination. You may not be able to put a description to it, but it is probably there. And it will remind you how truly valuable those first attempts are and how nothing is ever pointless when you are writing.


And now for the IMPORTANT stuff...

BEAUTY AND THE GEEK last night was awesome. Talk about a train wreck. I loved it. Chuck and Rich were at there most obnoxious and Scarlet....wow, that's one feisty beer spokesmodel. Cannot wait for the big finale next week.

11 comments:

chryscat said...

Isn't it amazing? It's always there. We simply need to discover and embrace it.
Um...did reading the old ms hurt? I find that sometimes I can't turn the internal editor off. *laughing* OUCH!
Grins*

Tori said...

Frankly, I've never been entirely sure I know what voice is. And I've been writing since, um, the early '90s. Sad, huh?

Kelly Parra said...

Cool, Rene! I'm glad you can be assured with your voice! I believe voice is very important. Great post! =)

Suzanne said...

Yes, it's cool, isn't it? The key is to not let contest judges and too much writing information ever take it away, dilute it, tone it down. Your true voice is what will sell you.

Jill said...

LOL, I love this show.

Michelle said...

I noticed that about writing I had from when I was a preteen. The voice really shines through, amazingly enough.

Reassuring, isn't it? Glad you found yours! Now go out there and make it shine. :)

Bonnie Ferguson said...

OOh I missed the show :( But yes it is comforting about voice :)

Tess said...

Cool, Rene. Very cool indeed :-) Voice is one of those oh, so important aspects of our writing over which we have limited control. Those with a natural voice are very lucky! Think I'll dig out my grade 11 journal and check the historical romance entry I made about half-way through the year and see if my voice has changed.

Hoodia said...

Help me Dude, I think I'm lost..... I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw him in a car lot yesterday, which is really strange because the last time I saw him was in the supermarket. No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender". He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a San Diego cosmetic surgery doctor ,to fit into those blue suede shoes of yours. But Elvis said in the Ghetto nobody can afford a San Diego plastic surgery doctor. Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger. Then I'm gonna go round and see Michael Jackson and we're gonna watch a waaaay cool make-over show featuring some Tijuana dentists on the TV in the back of my Hummer. And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . . "You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on " Strange day or what? :-)

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