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


Look for our new bloggers this month. Debra Sennefelder will blog on 1/15, and Debra Goldstein debuts on 1/22. Please welcome our double Debs to WWK.


Don't miss our January author interviews: 1/10-Lawrence H. Levy, 1/17-Kaye George, 1/24-Janet Bolin, 1/31-Kathy Aarons. And E. B. Davis will interview Shari Randall on Monday 1/29 about the publication of her first novel, Curses, Boiled Again. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


Our January Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 1/6-Becky Clark, Pat Hale, Leslie Karst, Edith Maxwell, Shawn McGuire, C. Perkins, and Sue Star, and 1/13-Polly Iyer. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 1/20, and Kait Carson on 1/27.

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 has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.

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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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