Faber Session 21 – Voice

Ok, so lets get the cake porn out of the way first πŸ˜‰

This is Orange & Almond cake with Creme Fraiche at The London Review Cakeshop. It had a tiny hint of ginger….mmmmm πŸ˜‰

Ok, tonight’s session was about Voice….some snippets from my notebook:

Voice is the personality of the narrator, how the narrator (authorial voice) sounds.

The ‘voice’ of a character is different to the ‘voice’ of the author.

New writers worry too much about their voice. If you write with passion, believe what you’re writing and it comes from the heart, your voice will shine through.

Don’t try to imitate other writers, be yourself.

Think about what you’re saying and why you’re saying it.

Voice is difficult to define….but think Roth, Amis and Anne Tyler.

Your voice echoes through everything you write.

Voice is fairly easy to recognise in others work….it’s when you pick up a book and think this is different to anything I’ve ever read.

A very good example of a distinct voice in a new writer is The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. I’ve only read the first page of the piece we were given but immediately I was struck by the unique voice used. Check out the free Kindle sample if you’ve not read it and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m not sure that I’ve developed my voice yet. I can see that most of my 1st person characters all sound like me though lol πŸ˜‰ Do you feel that you have developed your voice?

Homework for next week: *gulp*
What is the theme of my book?
What is it really about?
What am I trying to say?

27 thoughts on “Faber Session 21 – Voice

  1. I know what you mean by voice. I just read an excellent book with a unique voice. (Well it was a zombie… never mind trust me was excellent. The author’s use of adjectives was amazing) Yeah my characters all sound like me too. Unless the character is totally unlike the author, like a killer or something, I wonder how it’s possible not to sound like the author….


    • Thanks Sue πŸ™‚

      I think that’s why I don’t like 1st person lol

      I wrote a small piece the other day that I felt had a really strong voice. I pictured her as a young Victorian woman, from the lower classes. It didn’t sound like me at all. Was really chuffed with it. Showed it to hubby and he wasn’t convinced lol….so even when I’m really trying it still doesn’t really work lol πŸ˜‰

      I guess we just gotta keep trying πŸ™‚



  2. Not really sure I’ve developed my voice. I still feel very new to writing and the definition of voice to me has always been vague for me to understand, so I’m glad to know “write with passion…” and “your voice will shine through”. It’s what I’m hoping and thankfully I don’t worry too much about voice since as I said it’s just something I don’t quite get…maybe one day.


    • I’m definitely with you there Sabrina πŸ™‚

      I can’t recognise voice in my own work, but I can in the books I read lol

      One of my class mates said she realised recently that she was trying too hard, trying to “write” like a writer, when actually, there was no need to. I think I’ve found myself doing that 😦

      I think it’s something that just develops without us being aware of it πŸ™‚

      Thanks honey xx


  3. Love the look of that cake! πŸ™‚
    I get the idea of voice. It’s about how we write and how that comes across when reading. I tend to follow the above advice and just write. I do think it’s something that has to come naturally. There are so many things to think about aren’t there! I love these posts for that. Thank you for sharing your sessions.


  4. That cake Vikki! I already commented yesterday that almond was my favourite but you didn’t mention the hint of ginger then. Even more yummy. You got to go back for more of that. lol


  5. I think I have? Lol. Voice always seems like this nebulous thing we’re supposed to have but aren’t sure if we have it. I’d like to think I’ve developed a distinct enough one after almost 2 years of writing, but I’m not real sure. I try to be congnizant of how my characters sound apart from my narration. Especially the men. Voice is hard to pull off without lots of writing.


    • I kind of get confused between voice and style CC 😦

      I definitely have a style, but a voice? I’m not entirely convinced, but perhaps that because my voice isn’t distinctive (like the examples above). Is voice only really apparent in writers who have a strong one? Do we even really need a strong voice? I’ve read plenty of books where there isn’t one πŸ˜‰



  6. I agree that writing with passion will help your voice to come through. As for all the ‘what am I trying to say’ etc – sometimes we’re just telling a story! It may have strong themes that are close to our heart but at the end of the day we are storytellers. Themes, voices, and what it’s about all come through whether you intend them to or not. (I’m not keen on over-analysis – can you tell?!)


  7. Vikki, love Junot Diaz’ book about Oscar Wao … it was a slight tilt of culture and being immersed in Dominican culture for almost 20 years, I took offense with his portrayal of the Dominican female. However, it is genius at work.

    There is no real mystery to voice. Write and read a lot and I do mean a lot. Write all you can in first and third and play with characters and when you are not expecting it to happen, your voice will develop. No need to try to find it … it finds you πŸ™‚


      • I most certainly did. And for added pleasure Oscar Wao was one of our book club selections two years ago and a book my daughter read for a literature class that same year. I’ve also seen his podcast and find him to be a very fascinating character himself. Alas, I must repeat … like all Latin males … I do believe he has issues with Latin females and noted his reaction to Dominican women most startling. Then again, he was writing Oscar from the perspective of the Dominican male and they have problems acknowledging the power of the women in their life πŸ™‚


  8. Great post. I recently edited a memoir by a woman whose ‘voice’ was the heart of her story. There were a lot of poorly structured sentences, but I had to leave them alone because it was how she talked, if you know what I mean? If I had corrected all of the grammar and the style, I would have destroyed the voice. Instead, I edited more for clarity rather than accuracy (except for spelling; I definitely made sure everything was spelled correctly). It was a tough choice to make because someone reading it who might not appreciate the authenticity of the memoir might look at the poor grammar and weak word choices and think it was never edited. But for the type of memoir it was, I believed strongly that the story needed to be handled minimally. Does that make sense?


    • That makes perfect sense! πŸ™‚

      And does confirm the whole “over editing” issue. I’d much rather read something that wasn’t grammatically correct than something that had been edited so much the voice was lost.



  9. “Cake-porn”

    Well, there’s a pair of words, if any, which deserve each other, although that doesn’t necessarily have to mean in a bad way, I would like to add.

    But I have to admit, I always been partial to finding bits of poetry in my prose, like occasional pieces of deliciously in-baked almond in my deserts.

    Excellent ‘recipe-post’. Well worth a cooking recommendation πŸ™‚


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