Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The concept of voice is something new authors have a hard time grasping.  What is voice?  How do we find ours?  How do we cultivate it?

Have you seen the tv program ‘The Voice’?  Aptly named for the topic of my blog.  I’d actually never seen this show until the last couple of weeks.  Now I’m quite enjoying it.  It’s interesting that we get to watch the judge’s faces during the blind auditions while they listen and try to decide if they’re hearing a voice they’ll want to represent.

I had a light bulb moment when one singer came out and started singing with a voice somewhat like Melanie singing “Brand New Key,” but not really —A voice that is hard to describe with a unique twist all her own.  I watched the judge’s expressions perk up one after another.  Voice!  Recognizable as something the audience would be drawn to, but significantly different enough to be very unique in the marketplace.  I’ll be following the show to see how she fares out in the competition because I find her uniqueness very compelling.

Isn’t that what we strive for as authors?  Of course we’re born with our voice, but how many of us trust it enough to give it the freedom to find its way in the writing biz.  Some people spend most of their time trying to sound like someone else.  And they even compare themselves to other authors when pitching their book.  This is not something I’d ever do.   Why?  Because I don’t want to sound like someone else.  And I’m not afraid to let my muse loose in my writing.  <G>  I want to be like this mysterious, marvelous, strangely compelling singer — I'd like to be completely unique but with an essence or element to my writing that feels familiar, and recognizable, and something my readers are looking for.
When I saw those judges faces and heard that voice, I knew exactly how to describe "Voice" to writers. 


  1. Oh, Lina, great way to approach voice! And yes, it's complicated. And want to hear something funny? I've started listening to a lot of books on my Kindle (text-to-speech) during my commute to expand my "reading" time. Of course, the reading voice if very mechanical, but you get used to it. But what it does, oddly, at least for me, is lay bare the author's voice. A mechanized voice, but when it reads Lina Gardiner's words, it "sounds" different than when it reads MJ Fredrick's words, for instance.

  2. Norah, wow, that's a topic worth discussing further. The unemotional telling of a story lays it bare. In some cases that could be a very useful tool, and in other instances it might not work at all. After all, the implied emotion is a very cogent part of the story.

  3. Thanks for the reminder on voice. And you are right. So many authors are afraid of their own ‘voice’, and they try to sound like another author. But the neat thing is that we are all different, and no two writers have the same voice.

    Oh by the way, the fish on the bottom of your blog here remind me of an iPad App that our cat likes. (Yes! They do make iPad Apps for cats.) Great blog site.

  4. Ooh, I want an iPad. :) My mother comes to blog just to feed the fish. LOL
    Next time we're together at a writers' group we should raise a glass to our uniqueness.