Friday, May 2, 2008

Cleaning up the piles and hearing voices

"Any writing genius, from Shakespeare to Toni Morrison, derives much of their reputation from their ability to create a unique voice from every character."
~ James V. Smith

You never know what you'll find when you tackle the piles on your desk.

Or, in my case, the piles that overflowed from my desk to my dining room table.

How's that for honesty?

I found lots of interesting tidbits--article ideas scribbled on pieces of paper, quotes jotted down in various notepads, encouraging letters from people I've met along the Writing Road--and lots and lots of things needing to be filed.

I rarely file. I'm more of a pile-er.

Anyways, I found a piece I cut out of somewhere--I have no idea where--titled, "Fiction Writers--Get Thinking!" It talks about James V. Smith's book, The Fiction Writer's Brainstormer. On the paper is Smith's take on five qualities of voice that fictions writers should always consider. They are:

1. Vocabulary: Give you characters distinctive words.

2. Verbosity: You can create a distinctive voice just by controlling the length of a character's thoughts and speeches.

3. Velocity: This is reflected in how you arrange words, sentences and ideas.

4. Viewpoint: The literal point of view and omniscience allowed that character by the author.

5. Venom: When you're talking about emotion, you hit upon a central issue in the character's makeup.

So, to all you voice-hearing fiction writers out there: Your characters may be talking to you. But as the author, you get to decide what they sound like when you sit down at your computer and put those characters into your novel.
Now you know five ways to do that.

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