When you read a Chuck Pahlaniuk book you know it. From the cadence to the language to the "I can't put my finger on it, but I feel the kick you in the gut" mood he creates just in the way he puts the words together.
Tale of Desperaux, the toy rabbit - oh, the toy rabbit! - in Edward Tulane, the dog in Winn Dixie and even the tiger in Tiger Rising... you read Kate DiCamillo, you know it's her.
Last night, I was reading the opening chapter of my friend Mike's new non-YA book-in-progress, while in the middle of reading his delightful first YA novel, Alchemy (about a young boy's quest to find his father and first love one summer on Cape Cod) and, as I read the first 10 or so pages of this piece in progress, it made me smile to already see, and feel, Mike's voice coming out, setting his writing apart from 10,000 others I might read -- a delight he takes in nostalgia, in playing pun/word games with names and nicknames, and nice sense of observation for little everyday things, in this case, garbage can lids in the snow and ice.
And, this got me to thinking about my own writer's voice. I do think it's distinct and stands out, but it's hard to put one's own finger on what makes one's own voice stand out.
As The Pull of Gravity comes out next year, and with luck, after that, Frankie Sky, this is one of the things I look forward to reading about in reviews above all -- those things about my writer's voice that make my books special and my own.
Can you put your finger on the things that make your voice your own?