01 02 03 Amorina Rose Writes: The Narrative Voice 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

The Narrative Voice

16th November 2015

Now don’t get too excited and think this is going to be an intellectual masterpiece where you walk away stuffed full of new knowledge.  It’s me talking here and I know nothing except I have become almost obsessive these days reading articles from all sorts of sources.  When I see something I like I usually file it away and then something will jog my memory and I will go in search of it like I have done with this one.  When I do this I find it is because something about my writing is bothering me.  In this case it is the narrative voice as I find I get so caught up with my characters that I cross borders losing the value of the point of view. I mean I let everyone have a say.  Do I know the difference?  Of course I do.  Does it keep me from messing up?  Of course it doesn’t!

Worried about points of view I found myself rereading this particular article where Marianne de Pierres was interviewed by Writing Queensland.  She has the following to say about not only the voice but also maintaining it:
If the author is writing a story, telling it through the eyes of a protagonist /character with whom they are comfortable then the whole question of author voice/character voice/narrative voice becomes seamless and powerful.” To maintain the voice she adds we need to “make sure that you truly identify whose voice you are using to tell story.”

Everything always sounds so simple to me when I read these articles but heavens above it is so difficult to remember when writing. What actually annoys me is that from one thing I am reading I get caught up wanting to know other things.  For instance what about that voice if say, you want to change genres, and branch out into something completely different?  I fell into the romance genre because I am a romantic but I have some other ideas I would like to try out.  Do I need to alter anything?

Her answer was most enlightening.  Firstly we need to immerse ourselves in that new genre so we notice the rules and flow. She suggests reading. I love that idea and it makes sense. Marianne feels that “different genres lend themselves to different tones.”  To me in fact it clarifies a lot and in reading in that particular genre and seeing examples things I thought difficult become more accessible.  A genre reflects a certain atmosphere, a step into a certain world so of course we need something to help us define this.  The tone can be light, casual, and easy to engage with or Marianne tells us that if she is “writing dark fantasy” she is “ inclined to use more exotic language” and believes that in the “far future science fiction, and epic fantasy, writers often create neologisms to add flavour and help them build a tone of “alien” or “other-worldliness.” In reading this article and in using her words to explain I am somehow understanding more and more of what she means.

It really all comes down to the POV and knowing your characters well enough to use their voice distinctively.  In my second book “Unexpected Passion” I have struggled with this.  I feel like a split personality as I veer to my first novel’s Lia, then my own voice and somewhere in between I allow Alexi, the supposed star of this novel to be heard.  This worries me a great deal because when reading Marianne she made an excellent point:
“The moment that voice becomes solely yours (the author’s) and not the character’s, you lose your grip on the story and in some cases the narrative drive or momentum that comes with that consistent authenticity.”

I am struggling a little to go further with the second novel because I am battling Lia who wants to lead much like someone would in a ballroom class.  Hey, I do know ballroom and she isn’t taking the lead from me, I’m the author.  The trouble is that two strong leads means nobody goes anywhere and then we have Alexi yelling for us to get out of her way and learn some dance floor etiquette.  Can someone please change the music as this waltz is out of control?  Lia needs to go sit down.  She has had the chance in the limelight and now she needs to leave me and Alexi to battle it out. A series is always hard because there is a real danger that the new leads sound much like the old ones.  I guess it is that fear that lead me back to an article in the past that makes me think about the work in the present.

Somebody out there tell me if it is better to write and know nothing about writing than it is to know about features (tone, voice and let’s stop at these two as I am confused enough already) needed?  Come on someone talk to me and while you are at it can you tell me to stop reading these articles so I don't get all crazy and just write.  Want more? Click on this link: http://www.writingqueensland.com.au/marianne-de-pierres-on-narrative-voice/

A piu presto


P.S.  I think it would help enormously if Townsville wasn’t so far from Brisbane and the Queensland Writers Centre so I could go to all their workshops.  I am thinking of starting a petition begging for them to come more often.

P.P.S Have a look at this beautiful word.  I admit it! I guessed what it meant from the context but had to look it up just in case.  Isn’t it a great word to throw around?

Neologism:  the name for a relatively new or isolated term, word, or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use, but that has not yet been accepted into mainstream language. Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person, publication, period, or event.

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