Hey guys! Today, I've got the author of Superheroes Wear Faded Denim, Law Reigns, on the blog! She has written a post about learning Voice and how a little schizophrenia can spice up your novel. Curious? Well, read on to find out more!
Learning Voice:how a little schizophrenia can spice up your novel
I love hearing characters’ voices in my head. You can call me crazy, but when a novel has a strong voice, it leaves me thinking about it long after I finished reading.
Hardy Griffin started magic when he authored an article published in Gotham Writers’ Workshop, Writing Fiction. There he described voice to be, “what the readers “hear” in their heads when they’re reading. Voice is the “sound” of the story.”
How about that?
After reading his piece, and chewing on some pasta, I came to understand voice went way beyond character.
Why, indeed, it did not have to sound like the character at all.
Let’s see if I can make sense of this mud puddle. Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist for example:
“Oliver Twists’ ninth birthday found him a pale, thin child, somewhat diminutive in stature, and decidedly small in circumference.”
Now that certainly does not sound like a 9-year-old boy to me. Still, I am okay with it because I understand it is the voice of the author.
Taking a look at a stark contrast from Dicken’s voice, we can see an example where the voice sounds much more like the character.
“Strawberries are big and juicy. That wasn’t even the best part about them. 2 p.m. at lunch, they were going to be thrown at the back of Susie’s head. And if you think I’d care who’d be looking, you better think again real quick.”
With a voice like that, I should never stumble upon the word diminutive unless it is well justified.
Hardy Griffin continued to explain to writers there are so many voices to choose from, but once a voice is chosen, one has to stay consistent.
Here is a list of the voices Griffin listed below for your reading pleasure. I invite you to come dive into schizophrenia with me. Play around with voice and transform your writing.
Voices: how a little schizophreniacan spice up your novel
The conversational voiceThis voice is told mostly in the first person. It includes a lot of the character’s slang and personality. Books such as Huckleberry Finn and Push by Sapphire fall into this category.
The informal voiceThink not so personality-heavy. The voice is still casual, making use of everyday language. Darkly Dreaming Dexter falls into this category, my book Superheroes Wear Faded Denim, and Raymond Carter’s Cathedral. Although I find this voice mostly in stories written in a close third point-of-view, I can tell there is a slight difference between the author’s voice and the main character’s.
The formal voiceThis voice is a general sweep. Because the voice is so detached, it allows you the ability to dive into many characters’ heads. At the same time, you do not get the up close and personal feel with the character. Though that may be seen as a drawback, the formal voice can lend itself best to a large cast of characters, a myriad of locations, and large changes in time period. Think Leo Tolstoy’s Master and Man when trying to achieve this.
The ceremonial voiceIf you are thinking preacher on the pulpit, you are right on the right track. You heighten the feel by giving a glorious, almost transcendental feel to the descriptions of your setting and characters. I believe Sugar by Bernice McFadden falls into this category. If you do not have such a book in your possession, here is a short example:
“Johnny was a giant of a man, built like the broad oaks planted in the front yard of Dallas’ Savannah, Georgia home. So tall and big he was, one always thought an earthquake was about to brew every time he approached. That was the man Dallas knew she wanted to marry. A man who had the body and hands to turn a village into a city. Yet Johnny and God had made plans for his hands long before Dallas had even graced Savannah with her presence.”
Voice to me is so much fun. It allows the writer to accomplish so much. Why a well-chosen, well-constructed voice can really redefine a novel.
I urge you to be a little wild. Walk the line of schizophrenia, especially if you are just getting started on working on the second draft of your novel.
If you are overwhelmed by all this information, do not worry I am right there with you. I wish I could delve deeper into examples, but I am of the ilk that believe the majority of people do not wish to read a five-page college essay on a blog.
Whythis story:“Telling the story of a young woman who had to undergo a transformation to achieve greatness was important to me.”
I wrote this story for three reasons:
- As a narcoleptic, I wanted to inspireothers by writing a story about a character who struggles to overcome sleep.Harriet Tubman’s story inspired me. For those who do not know, she was also anarcoleptic. She most certainly did not let it bother her. Anyone who facesobstacles in life will be inspired by this story of triumph.
- Telling the story of a young woman whohad to undergo a transformation to achieve greatness was important to me. Lifewill always ask more of us, more than we sometimes even think we can give.
- I wanted to capture the beauty andculture of my college experience. There are so many different types of peoplewe meet in college. Many stories do not even try to convey this.
LawReigns has an odd obsession with romance. At the advice of her friends, shegave up the plight of playing cupid in their lives. Developing her own charactersto manipulate proved to be more rewarding. After having studied creativewriting at the University of Florida, she decided to write Superheroes WearFaded Denim. A proud Gator alumni, she based her novel where blood runs orange and blue. She personallyinvites all adventure druggies and love fanatics to dive into the pages ofFaded Denim, a story that transforms a swampy, southern town into a battlefieldfor life and love.
Connectwith Law Reigns:
Learned a lot, huh? I sure did- I never knew there were so many types of voices! Curious about her book? Here's more:
Blissany Cherry is tired of sleeping around. Her neurologists’ sleep solutions have failed her. Now that her bizarre sleeping habits have begun to include week long dreams she has resorted to her own methods for a cure.
METHOD ONE: CONTROL DREAMS.
All attempts to morph dreams about a gorgeous warrior into romantic fantasies are thwarted. He keeps on insisting she is destined to marry a great king and lead their armies into war. At the end of every dream he asks her: will you fight the war and save mankind?
She laughs in his face.
METHOD TWO: RESIST!
Blissany has plans for her life. None include fighting an intergalactic war. When her dreams begin spilling over into reality, she is forced to make a decision that will forever redefine her life. Standing between destiny and desire, she is left with only one option.
METHOD THREE: SURVIVE.
So thank you so much, Law, for the guest post! And don't forget to give her book a try! :)