I seem to have misplaced my voice. You know, it's that unique little POV way of expressing yourself that every writer and that writer's characters need if they don't want to be lost in the crowd.
Moira Hahn's "Heaven and Hell" precisely illustrates my howling need. This series of paintings explore an afterlife that is a mashup of Eastern and Western beliefs and culture. I adore the work for its visual voice. It sure gets your attention in a stunning way, doesn't it?
Voice is on my mind for a variety of reasons. I've been wanting to post a comment Neil Gaiman made in The Guardian's article on writing rules. Among his "rules" were these two:
"Laugh at your own jokes." Really, that's brilliant. You should be chuckling if you're composing a funny scene or witty banter. I do and then wonder if it just my own twisted humor. But when I take my scene to my face-to-face crit group and hear them laugh as I read, relief rushes through me. Okay, I managed to find voice and it was funny.
"Write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter." So says Neil, who has one of the world's great voices.
Now, here I'm going to say I am an avid reader of Neil's blog, which he has been writing for almost a decade. Yes, you read that right. He is one of the original blogging authors. But I can always tell when his stand-in guy writes a post. It's not Neil's voice. It's someone telling us about Neil's life, because Neil can't blog at the moment. That throws me off and drives home the point of how important voice really is.
And that brings me to my voice, which has gone missing in my query drafts. Sigh. I mean, I think I have a voice, but when I try to wrangle the essence of a novel into a few paragraphs, it becomes these overworked, dull-as-dirt sentences. Luckily for me, I won a query critique from Writing Out the Angst and the wonderful Suzy Hayze has lit a torch to help me find my lost voice.
What about you, have you found your voice? Are you searching for it? Do you have any idea what it looks like?