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December 26, 2012
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Good god(s) y'all, I think it's time this came up.

DISCUSS: "Voice is the only thing a writer needs to make a story truly their own."


-15,000,000 if you don't know what 'voice' means and won't ask. How exactly did you think people learned things, again?
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:iconmaxwellsmaart:
MaxwellSmaart Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013
Truly their own? You're telling me I could re-write a best seller with my own voice and it would be my own?
That was my first thought, though I understand what the real point is here. Maybe my first was thought extreme, but it's intriguing. What about all those Alice in Wonderland spinoffs, and works like that? Does that make the stroy their own? Food for thought.

My actual response: To me, voice is really important. Sets the tone and evokes feeling from the reader. That's why we write, right? To tell stories and get a reaction, feedback. Voice helps, absolutely.
Interesting thread, for sure.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't think you could literally rewrite a bestseller in your own voice. I think by the time you were done, it'd be a different book because of your voice ;p

Hmmm. Yeah, I dunno. I mean, there's 'own' in like some artsy mental sense and then in the srsbsns copyright sense.

:nod:
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:iconmaxwellsmaart:
MaxwellSmaart Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013
Hmm. Agreed.

True. :dummy:
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:iconthe-monoblos:
The-Monoblos Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Professional Writer
"Voice" - solely for the purpose of making something your own? "no".

Two voices can be the same as a third, would I be being pedantic if I asked "Does this make something one's own?"

But yes, at the same time, each person has their individuality about them and that individuality, seen through their 'voice' is very important in making something one's own. I'm going to take an example here of William Shakespeare play 'Macbeth'.It's a fantastic play that defines feudal relationships, has links with morality, destiny, pre-determining and so on. When written it was fascinating and it's still fascinating now. But, just because the original play was one thing that doesn't make it completely unique (in my opinion) from today's staging of the play. Today we have the play in hundreds of different languages and in vastly changing time periods. I'd like to bring up the filmmaker Akira Kurusawa - proclaimed the master of Shakespearean film with timeless classics such as 'Ran' or, more prominently 'Throne Of Blood' (being based ON Macbeth). Both Shakespeare and Kurusawa are individuals themselves and have worked on their own projects.

Akira Kurusawa, basing Throne Of Blood off Macbeth, completely used his voice in his adaptation of something that was originally created in Shakespeare's voice. But here's the kicker - the film does not use a single line, not even a single word from the play although it keeps the themes and even relating characters and relating places. Instead of basing it around traditional Middle English acting it works with the way of N'oh acting from Japan. Yet the way it's shot relates to the play so that you feel you are in a theater. I ask now "Does this mean Kurusawa's voice is what makes the film his own". Again I say "no".

We all have a voice but we need the words the speak. This, when you may think about it, collides with "Voice is the only thing a writer needs to make a story truly their own". Shakespeare and Kurusawa both knew what their voice was, as should hopefully everyone in here - without knowing your own voice you are, in so many ways, held back. The thing is - they both knew which words to say "with" their voice. They knew they could make something in whatever way they desired, so they each did. they each knew they were making things in the specific way that they did. 'Voice', combined with this (and other things) makes something one's own - why? Because it shows you've mastered yourself - mastered yourself 'in your product'.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Did not know that about Kurasawa's stuff. I don't know if cinematic 'voice' works quite the same—if we take 'personality' and extend it to visual art or film it becomes different things, I would argue that the 'voice' of a film (disclaimer: I'm a total Philistine about films) is the overall ambience, which includes things like values, perspective, which cameras were used, jitter, lighting. For instance, a lot of 'The Ring' being set in cloudy/kind of dark scenes; if it'd been bright and happy it'd be a totally different scene.

Okay, being able to convey your voice? Good call. :P
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:iconthe-monoblos:
The-Monoblos Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Professional Writer
I'm very interested in film - other than literature film is really my #1 thing, with Kurusawa being #2 in my interest list in that so it was an easy example to pick out for me. most films have their own voice though which, to a large amount is imported from the director's vice with other hints at voices coming in form the entire production team. I love pointing out to a lot of people that, really since Truffaut created the auteur theory the directors of the world are far more enigmatic and powerful than most actors in what they can do. It's fantastic, a part of me wants to do film narrative theories as a full time job with hints to reviewing - I love it
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ahhh.

It's awesome stuff, although honestly I like watching explosions even more than thinking about 'em.
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:iconmemnalar:
Memnalar Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013
Orson Card has a way of researching the living hell out of everything and going through his characters' motions step by step. His protaganist doesn't just make tea, you get the whole damn process, where the leaves came from, how the infuser is designed, everything. In Magic Street, he even describes a character's feces and how it relates to his diet. Not for no reason; the character is out in the woods, and the aside about his clean turds and good diet explains why he doesn't have to worry about toilet paper. It matters to Card that this question is answered, and he constantly answers questions in his work.

Is that voice? I don't know, but it definitely makes his work distinctive. His patience of detail actually adds to the pacing and suspense; he knows exactly what he's doing, and does it well.

I think voice happens when you practice writing enough that certain things happen without much direct thought on your part, and these things manage to survive the editing process.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That's interesting...I think I remember getting this around the edges with Ender's Game, probably more so in Ender's Shadow. I've heard everything outside that series is good, so at some point I'll have to read it.

I mean, it is the information he thinks the reader needs to see. I think didactism can be part of a voice, too.

I'd call that natural voice, but I think you can do more depending on who the narrator needs to be.
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:icontheskaboss:
TheSkaBoss Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
To make it their own? Yes.

To make it? No.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hm, I hear rumors of popular books with no voice. But not many.
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:iconthetaoofchaos:
thetaoofchaos Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012   Writer
I truly believe that voice is all any artist needs for any artistic endeavor (stretching the definition beyond literature). It's the hardest thing to discover, and once you do, everything else is just formatting and technique. The latter are things that can be learned and practiced from extraneous sources. I'm not convinced that one's voice can be obtained solely in this fashion, as it requires communing with one's peculiar internal proceedings.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't know what you've heard about my internal proceedings, but I'll have you know they're awesome. :iconfliphairplz:

As has been pointed out, though, some people just aren't that good at being interesting.
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:iconthetaoofchaos:
thetaoofchaos Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012   Writer
Haha, as Sgt. Schultz would say: "I KNOW NOTHING".

Actually, being interesting, as a measurable phenomenon, requires the participation of people other than yourself. It's best to find out what you're really about as an artist and go about saying it the way you want it said. At some point, you have to say to Hell with what people find interesting, because if you're only writing for them, well . . . I guess some people do like Harlequin novels.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ha! Also, I need to watch this show.

I write for the people who find things I write interesting. :shifty:
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Professional General Artist
If you mean the writer's voice...maybe.

I do think it helps to know who you are and what you want to do.  I guess I could churn out trashy romance novels if I wanted, but is that really me?  I could also get self-conscious about a common statement made about my work, that it's dark and "Gothic" (which I have), but if that's where my brain keeps going, why force myself to write in a totally different mode?  Voice is probably also a matter of having something to say, which relates back to knowing who you are.  Or at least being curious enough to find out.
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Professional Writer
This is EXACTLY what I was trying to say about voice.  When you find the type of writing that works best for you, that's where your voice will start to develop.  Me?  I couldn't write bodice rippers if I wanted to.  I've tried to write adult romance, and ^neurotype will tell you how hard I've fallen on my face every. Single. Time.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It is pretty hilarious.
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Professional Writer
My grown up sexy scenes read like teenagers and it's awkward and creepy. :(
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Your voice reads like teenagers :P
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Professional Writer
FOREVERRRR.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:lol:
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Professional General Artist
Well, honestly, I've never had interest in reading or writing bodice rippers, so I never really tried. ;)

But yeah, once I kinda let go of doing realism and went back to the speculative stuff I played with when I was younger, everything just kinda came together for me in terms of voice.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh man, I totally saw a post that was like 'voice is the soul of your work.' Which is wishy washy as fuck, but it's also spot on.

I think you could develop your sense of identity as you wrote--it doesn't have to come first, although once you have it you'll need to revise.

And if you wrote trashy romances, I'd read them. :P
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Professional General Artist
Oh yeah, I think a lot of figuring your voice out is just trying everything and emulating everyone until you finally figure out what fits. If you spend time with any particular writer long enough, you can see it happening.

If I went trashy, it would be more in the direction of V.C. Andrews for sure. :lol:
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha, I tend to pick up styles from reading stuff, so as I noticed the elements that didn't change, I figured out what was me.

Please tell me that's minus the incest :P
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Professional General Artist
But the incest is awesomely wrong and creepy!
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Incest and awesome never, never should be used in the same sentence :stare:
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Professional General Artist
What if we're talking Egyptian pharaohs or Greek deities?
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Still not awesome!
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Professional Writer
Oh man.  I so want to see your take on V.C. Andrews-influenced litfic.
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:iconsaintartaud:
saintartaud Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Professional General Artist
The novel I'm working on is influenced a bit by V.C. Andrews (literary Gothic in general). It's science fiction, but close enough. ;)

(Incidentally, Andrews did write an unfinished science fiction novel that finally got published a few years ago. I'm sure it's as silly as her gothics, but I'm curious to read it one of these days.)
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Professional Writer
Oooooh. I am totally intrigued. (By your work, less the Andrews.)
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(1 Reply)
:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012   Writer
I guess I would disagree. Voice alone may be enough, but I think there are other ways of making a story your own. Topic might even be one way of doing it: if you're the only person to write about a bob sled team of talking shoehorns from Mercury, I think you've made that story your own. :shrug: So you don't need voice to make a story your own, but it would be one way of doing it, or at least contributing towards it.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Would that work for an interesting story, though? ;p
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:icondamonwakes:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012   Writer
Based on what everyone says in these forums, I'd have to say it would depend on the execution. :shrug:

But I do have the feeling that it would read like one of those religious films for kids where all the characters are singing vegetables.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
There is that, too!

Eeew.
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:iconwitwitch:
witwitch Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Student Writer
it would be interesting if the voice was interesting. :bucktooth:
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:lol:
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:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012
You Voice as in the narrative personality? :?

Still, the voices in these thread...:hmm: 
Very entertaining. 
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, that!
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:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
\o\
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:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012
You mean voice...*
   Where did the rest of the words go? D: 

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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh wow, didn't even notice that.
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:iconmackwrites:
mackwrites Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012
Recently I have been thinking a lot about voice. The connection between writer's voice and "writing what you know" is actually really interesting... the way we know things, or the way we learn them, is unique, and I think that this uniqueness is what makes the story someones own. I think that if people try to "write like someone else" or write a certain way, that's where the problems come in.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, I can write like people who aren't in my demographic group! But if their personalities are too different from mine, I don't enjoy it as much, so my narrators tend to be either kind of like me or just terribly sarcastic omniscients.

I pulled up a page that said writing what you know is a good way to find your voice. I think writing what you have opinions about is a better way.

But still, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
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:iconmackwrites:
mackwrites Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
I mean when people are fake or ingenuine on purpose... that's the problem. I think writing like people who aren't in your demographic group is fine, haha. All I know is that I'm really good at writing what I know. I'm also good at writing what I have opinions about. And I'm terrible at writing things I haven't looked in to or researched at all :P

What challenge o_o
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Wait, like the voice is fake or they're trying to be someone they're absolutely not? I think it's that latter thing. :stare:

Haha, sounds right to me.

The challenge to write like someone I'm not!
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:iconmackwrites:
mackwrites Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012
Like they think they need to write a certain way so they force it :P that's all! haha
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Okay :B yeah, I've seen some people who take the formal written language way too far. It's like people who just aren't comfortable with their drawing tools, and you can always see that in their lines.
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