Got Voice? Create a Page Turner

One of the things that I love about fiction is that distinct voice an author has.

It may be an in-your-face humor like Rick Riordan’s in his Percy Jackson & The Olympians series, or a deep love of place and characters like Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint, or of courageous desperation in Toni McGee Causey’s Charmed and Dangerous.

These stories are memorable not so much for what happens, though that is fun too, but because of the voice that carries the stories, the author’s voice.

Voice has traditionally been hard to explain, and even harder to teach. Literary agent, Donald Maass, in his fourth book, The Fire in Fiction, dissects voice for us, in a way I can begin to grasp.

Voice comes through in the details and how we deliver them, Maass writes.

Voice also comes through in the point of view and tense we choose in which to narrate our stories.

Let’s take a peek.

“Not all beautifully written novels have a voice, or much of one. Potboiler plots may be exciting, but also may have little flavor. It is when the words on the page demand that I, the reader, take notice that I begin to hear the author’s voice. It isn’t words alone that do that, I find, but rather the outlook, opinions, details, delivery, and original perspectives that an author brings to his tale.

“Above all, a singular voice is not a lucky accident; it comes from a storyteller’s commitment not just to tell a terrific story but to tell it in a way that is wholly his own.”

– The Fire in Fiction: Passion, purpose, and techniques to make your novel great by Donald Maass

More about voice here.
More Excerpt Thursday posts here.

c. 2009 Beth Barany

Who Beth Barany works with are aspiring authors and busy professionals. She helps them get their books finished and out into the world. Find out more in her latest book, The Writer’s Adventure Guide: 12 Stages to Writing Your Book, or at her site: Stay in touch with her events and get exclusive writing tips by signing up for her newsletter on her site.

Excerpt used based on Fair Use laws.

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