If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What is Voice?

Pick up a work by Hemingway with the cover and title page removed and in short order you’re likely to know who the author was. Same thing with the late, great Robert B. Parker, or James Lee Burke, or Janet Evanovich.

They each have a distinctive voice. What the heck is this voice stuff anyway?

Let’s look at another artistic endeavor, music, for insight. My partner is classically trained, and often when she and I listen to a piece on NPR that we don’t know we can guess the composer based on chord structure and progression, instrumentation and themes (which Elaine discussed yesterday). In other words, the composer’s style is distinctive.

It’s not just composers. Take popular music. After three measures I’d know Stevie Nicks, or Joan Baez, or Judy Collins, or Roy Orbison or dozens and dozens of others. They each have distinctive voices.

Note that my examples date me. My parents would be referring to Bing Crosby, or Frank Sinatra or Judy Garland. Or maybe they could immediately recognize the different big band sounds from the Dorseys or Benny Goodman. If you are younger than I, you’d be thinking about – well frankly I don’t know who you’d be thinking about because I don’t much listen to recent music, although I do have some favorites like Vienna Teng—another distinctive voice.

A distinctive voice, whether in music or writing, does not develop in a vacuum. It takes nourishment from the life and times of the era in which it grows. Yet the voices we remember took the general theme of the time and made it their own.

I suspect their secret has three components: (1) they did their homework, studying how other people did it and are doing it now; (2) they stayed true to themselves, to their own vision about their craft, and (3) an agent somewhere recognized they were something special. (Otherwise we never would have heard of them.)

In my next piece I’ll talk about how to mold the first two components into developing our own voice. We’ll talk about agents sometime too, I promise.

~ Jim

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