Thursday, April 24, 2014

A to Z: V for Voice

Voice is the quality in writing that lends authenticity to the experience of reading and compels a reader to trust that what he is doing is worthwhile. Like singers, a writer's voice gets stronger with training. Almost all writers have a sense of what their voice is; it's that combination of story setting and characterization that fits the author's range of authority, knowledge and expertise. Although voice can be confused with character, because usually an author speaks through his characters, either through dialogue or interior monologue, voice is more than just finding the intonation, accent and authentic mood to fit a specific character. It is about having the competency to range above and beyond the character's diction and mental frame of reference. After all, an author is the creator of a world, and that world has to be seamless and apparently boundless in all directions in the reader's imagination. The trick is a type of illusion, a leading of the reader's attention with smoke and mirrors elsewhere while the stage is being set.
As citizens of a liberal culture in which we are urged towards self-actualization, we are all supposed to find our true voice in our actual lives. What does that really mean, when someone is said to have found his or her voice? It is a proxy for achieving a place in the world. Most adults need to feel useful and accomplished. In Maslow's hierarchy of needs, acceptance and recognition come just below the apex of moral development. Acceptance and recognition from peers is usually reserved for people who have a voice, a say in what is being done and how it is being done. But as many people strive to have their voices heard, sometimes a cacophony results that leads nowhere. Look at Cliven Bundy in the news today as representative of a faction in adult America today that have lost their voice and never will find it again, seemingly.
In SAVIOR, I worked hard to get the voices of the characters right. I had the most fun with the villain, Samael Chagnon, whose voice is strong and compelling, and frightening in its lucidity. Al's voice is calm and sure and honest and therefore sometimes despairing. Ricky, Al's teenage boy, is hopeful, sometimes angry. For me, the greatest compliment so far in the reviews for Savior has come from a reviewer who had some difficulty with the book, but loved all the characters, even the minor ones, because they seemed alive and true. As a writer, that tells me I am on the right track.

SAVIOR is available as an Amazon Kindle Ebook. Go to SAVIOR and pick up your copy, and then check back here throughout the A to Z challenge month to learn more about SAVIOR and additional publication month details.

(Photo by Melissa Rose)
Post a Comment