Tuesday 27 December 2011

Voices and reading

Today is more about characterisation and voice. I was recently advised to read a certain book because it had a good example of the type of voice I was trying to create. I took the advice and read the book waiting for my epiphany. Unfortunately, it didn't come, or rather it did but not in a way I expected. This strong voice that was recommended to me I found to be weak and predictable. Admittedly they were not the main character but even so minor characters have got to be able to stand up for themselves. Make you aware they are there and why. My epiphany was more of a reminder of how much reading is actually subjective. Any reader, whether adult or child does not come to a story empty handed. They arrive full of their past experiences and knowledge ready to take away new knowledge and interpretation for dissemination when they share a good tale.

As reading is subjective I would suggest that as a writer sometimes you just need to follow your gut instinct. Be strong and believe in yourself. You will know if it is not working. Trust that inner voice. Just because one agent or publisher happens to like one style doesn't mean that your style is wrong. It may just not be right for them. Try others. You have to believe in what you are writing and stand by it. If you have doubts then the reader definitely will too.

Equally as important as listening to that inner voice is ensuring you read, and read copiously. Not just books that are within your comfort zone. Challenge yourself. As I mentioned above, about the reader, you will take away from all books you read a bit more knowledge about writing. It might be a style you don't like or a style you love. Words they may have used could inspire you. The more you read the more informed you become as a writer and therefore can have even more faith in that inner voice.

This song is because I love it and Joni plus maybe because  it is time to skate away ready for a new year


  1. I do so agree with you about reading Ness, but I'm a little dismayed that the last three books I've read have left me cold, and all for different reasons. One made a scientific error that undermined the whole plot and destroyed my ability to suspend disbelief. Another seemed to think that sewer contents were funny for their own sake and the author couldn't keep his own rabid political beliefs under control. And the third, well I blogged about that one.

    I'm not sure what I've learnt from these books except that it seems the more I write the more I seem to demand. It hasn't stopped me from reading though - it's just that I'm searching for something that doesn't disappoint me. Then I might be able to learn something useful!

  2. I agree totally. I was really disappointed about this book too. I find it harder and harder to find books that really move me. What I think it means is that we push ourselves harder and harder to produce something better. I think what we learn from these books is what we don't like and how we don't want to write!