Saturday, February 20, 2010


In group discussions with other writers, I love the question: “What is “voice?” Always, there’s a quick turn of the head to the person sitting next to them, to see if they have an answer. Over the years, I’ve read articles on “voice,” listened to workshops on “voice,” and have had debates with my critique partner about “voice.” In the end, I’ve concluded the whole issue is complicated - and totally subjective. If we could put a rope around “voice” and wrangle it to the ground, look it straight in the eye, no doubt the slippery sucker still wouldn’t give up the secret.

Although may not be able to adequately define “voice,” I can tell you what I love about the “voice” of an author I connect with: Elizabeth Berg. She is by far one of my favorites. In her books, her characters touch me deeply, because they are about ordinary people, living ordinary lives, dealing with ordinary problems. Her characters say and do things I often find myself saying and doing. (Hmmm Do you suppose I love her books because they validate some inner need in myself? Definitely worth some thought). While some readers are drawn to mysteries, sci-fi, or romance, I’m drawn to books that celebrate family, food and friendships. And if an author has that special, magical “voice,” I usually can’t put the book down until after I’ve read every chapter.

Please feel free to comment!!


  1. I agree, Sher. Voice is sometimes illusive. When I've written strong characters their voices seem to take over and head off in directions of their own. I've written several stories in third person - those don't seem to have "voice." It's when
    I write in first person with a strong character that voice seems to take over. Someday when we have a body of work to look back over - we'll see voice and it won't seem so mysterious.

  2. Voice is an interesting concept. I guess thats what I have been doing the last couple of years, trying to find my own "voice". While I do not consider myself any kind of fancy writer, I certainly am on a journey to define who I am as an individual and what it is that brings me joy. I am on a journey to identify what job will be life-giving and "feed my soul" and do that, I feel that I have to find my "inner voice" and define who I am as an individual. Its a rode that I have not traveled before so I can identify with the need to "find your voice".