(I feel strange saying 'writer' like I'm an impostor so bear with me), it's all you hear about.
You have to have Voice. It's all about the Voice. You're grammar can suck but once you have Voice you're ok. You're plot is useless, I hate your characters but you've great Voice. Voice is learned. Voice is innate. Voice. Voice. Voice. Voice. Voice.
What the HELL is VOICE? (and where can I get some s'il vous plait?)
Well, I but this terminology up there with having an 'EAR' for languages or music. It seems to be this intangible mysterious thing that is the holy grail of writing.
So why am I having this rant? Well this 'voice' thing has been on my mind for a while, as it seems to be this fundamental ingredient to writing, that everyone talks about yet no one really can pin a definition on and like the 'talent vs. ability' debate - do you just have 'voice' or can you get it? (i.e. work?) This has come to the fore because recently I've been thinking of entering a competition hosted by the wonderful Inkwell for Irish writers, where you're first 3,000 words is reviewed by a Penguin editor and a literary agent for a prize.
I haven't written the first chapter yet (I'm writing rough draft in reverse) so I played around with it and posted the first 300 words or so on AW to get some feedback. Repeatedly I was told to cut the thing except for last two paragraphs. I was told these had voice. That these made people want to turn the page. Now, I keep staring at the page. Looking at the paragraphs with no voice and the ones that supposedly do. I completely agree with the feedback but I'm left pondering about this voice thing.
How do you know you have voice?
If I'm entirely honest with myself. I don't think I have 'it' - that voice, which makes people keep reading. Sometimes I might write the odd line and see maybe a glimpse of something, but then it goes. Is this voice? Something which is there, but needs to be worked at to be found? Or do you either have it or you don't? Am I fooling myself? Deluding myself? I know DarkShines will probably never see the light of day - mostly down to my lack of skill and experience. I'm ok with this. I believe in 'practice makes perfect' but I also believe that sometimes you need to have an innate ability to build on in the first place - is this what voice is?
I don't know. I feel I should know. I feel I should know that I have it, but I really don't. Does any writer do? Or is it something only an outsider can see and determine?
Amazing readers who are writers, do you know what voice is? And do you know if you have it?
(And can you get me some?)