Narrative Voice


Dear writers, how many narrative voices do you use? What is the difference between finding your voice and employing a narrative voice? These and many more questions I am examining as I write a book that is fast becoming a memoir.

I work hard to find times of angst. Doing so takes me back in time. Who said there are no time machines?

Some days I flounder against angst’s mother ship. I produce a whiny narrative voice. What is that? Not good I think.

In all instances, I try to include a voice that can express humor. I am hoping that by doing so I will find a sound that can appraise up close and at a distance in conversational tones.

 

10 thoughts on “Narrative Voice

  1. evelyneholingue June 2, 2014 / 11:23 am

    Writing a memoir triggers lots of emotional response. In the end a good memoir is not really about ourselves. And this is what is (in my opinion) the most difficult to achieve. Best of luck to you as you journey the complex paths of memory.

    • fictionfitz June 2, 2014 / 11:29 am

      Boy, does it ever. I am happy that I feel equipped to take several views of the same moment. I could not have done that ten year ago. Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. scottguffey June 2, 2014 / 12:08 pm

    I compare finding your narrative voice with “listening” to the multiple language tracks that occur when our brains operate. It’s a strange process, for sure. We can only attribute more words to the written product, such as “whiny,” “humorous,” “angst-ridden,” “jerkish,” etc. I am often cautious of those who wish to dictate the narrative voice, because they are readers and often want to curtail the writer for their own expectations. Sometimes, a writer just has to create the voice that they “hear,” without over-analyzing how it will be received.

    • fictionfitz June 3, 2014 / 3:35 pm

      Well said, it is what I try to employ. But is there more than one voice per writer?

      • scottguffey June 3, 2014 / 5:21 pm

        A good question. While I attempt to modify my voice, it is difficult to disguise every nuance that identifies me. I think it is possible to create a range, but it takes a special kind of writer to actually create more than one voice in his creations. I often wonder if it is related to the psychological condition of multiple personalities when trying to create multiple writing voices.

      • fictionfitz June 4, 2014 / 6:23 am

        Interesting comparison, are we all capable? Do we want to be? I think of multiple personalities as not good, but maybe that is a wrong assumption and especially so when applied to writing, but then again is not writing a character like acting a character, and a bit over the top when actually being the characters?

      • scottguffey June 4, 2014 / 10:13 am

        I think the answer might be yes. I’ve been conducting discussions about the book-turned-TV-show, Game of Thrones. It’s generally stated that there must be something wrong with George R.R. Martin (and the show’s writers and producers) to illustrate such depraved characters and violent imagery. I’ve also studied the mental lapses of writers like Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allan Poe, Hunter S. Thompson, and so many more…the literary canon is littered with splendid writers who suffered mental illness as they developed such magnificent writing voices. There is a caveot emptor involved with development of a writing voice.

      • fictionfitz June 4, 2014 / 10:33 am

        I guess any exploration has its dangers. In writing classes I have seen the most upbeat people love to write darkly. In my own journey I am beginning to sense that darkness is part of the light. Have I succumbed?

      • scottguffey June 4, 2014 / 11:01 am

        Perhaps darkness and light are inextricably linked…is one condition merely the absence of the other. Writers might succumb to exploration of the human condition, which is not wholly light or dark.

      • fictionfitz June 5, 2014 / 11:17 am

        I guess the sentence,”it is not black and white” is not meant as a gratuitous statement. I think this is why I find my new found love of darkness enjoyably contemplative. Most of my life the light is of day and the darkness of night. I have been very compartmentalized, but even when in a box I struggled.

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