|A few "faces" of Arlaina Tibensky. . . hmm, well, mostly ;)|
In 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said, "I shall not attempt to further define [it] . . . but I know it when I see it."
Of course, the "it" he was talking about was pornography, *coughs* but I think this quote applies to writer's voice, as well.
It's hard to define what "voice" is, but you know it when you see (hear/read) it.
I think, for me, voice is what draws me to a given writer most -- above plot and story, above characters, even. That certain je ne sais quoi known as voice.
A.S. King's got a strong one. Geoff Herbach too. <--- two of my personal YA favorites.
|One of Arlaina's favorite paintings |
by Otto Dix.
It reminds me of her, too!
Plus, this painting has
a strong "voice"
don't you think?
Put it this way, the first time I
Arlaina's "voice" blasts off the page.
I love it.
I want it.
But, alas, it's hers, so I'm stuck with my own.
read her debut YA, And Then Things Fall Apart.
About the book:
So, I went tooling around the interwebs searching for an authoritative definition of voice, but there isn't one. It seems to be one of those undefinable things, that, IMHO, you've either got or you don't.
I'm not sure voice can be taught.
Jane Yolen has this to say about voice: “The story’s voice. That is what must be uncovered, not discovered. It is not the author’s voice, but the true tone of the tale.”
Hmmm, I'm not sure I get this, completely. For me, the voice of a particular story presents itself to me from the outset -- and, maybe mixes with my "author's voice" for a sort of hybrid creation. . . so that I feel like each of my manuscripts has its own voice, but you can also "hear" my author voice shining through.
I also liked this from an author named Dr. Jack Ross:
Writer's voice . . . is a combination of a writer's use of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text (or across several works). Voice can also be referred to as the specific fingerprint of an author . . .
A fingerprint, yes! When you read Arlaina's writing, it's got her beautiful, snarky, wistful fingerprints all over it.
Well, see for yourself! We've got her here today, so go ahead and read her excerpt and see. Do you feel her voice? Her fingerprint? Does it resonate with you?
What works for you? What doesn't?
How about you? Have you found your author's voice? Have you left your fingerprints? Let us see.
Today find an excerpt that reveals your voice as a writer.
And if you haven't been here before, please read the RULES.
From an "undisclosed" project of Arlaina's:
The thing with Ron is, he exists. He is: there. And he seems to show up right at the exact moment I need something to take me away from all this. And I know, I know. He’s bad. The worst. And I don’t trust him, I don’t even like him but he trusts me to make my own choices and so, I let him. I use him to gage how far I can go. Besides, if our time is almost up- what difference does it make? When I’m with him I forget to care too much about tomorrow because I’m too busy being in right now. Ron picks me up and gives me two soggy pills from the front pocket of his greasy jeans.
“What is it?” I ask, not really caring. It will either make me pass out, ultra-hyper, ultra-happy or just hallucinate. Any of those are fine with me. What’s the difference if I live or die anyway?
“Adderall,” he says. “I thought a smart girl like you would know what the hell Adderall looks like.”
“Whatever,” I say but inside I hear a voice-
-A smart girl like you shouldn’t be in a car with a guy like him.
“It’s THERAPUTIC,” he says. “It’s to iron out the kinks in your complicated brain.” He laughs when he says it and so do I. Like a maniac.
He says, “Don’t be a scared little girl.”
And I say “Fuck you,” and swallow the pills down with some warm Mountain Dew from his cup holder.
- Arlaina (and gae)
p.s. Arlaina probably won't be around until Saturday, but I'll be here during the day. :)
Gae is the author of The Pull of Gravity (fsg/Macmillan - guided by Star Wars and Steinbeck, two teens go on a secret, whirlwind road trip to keep a promise to their dying friend), and a soon(ish)-to-be released YA from Algonquin Books/Workman Publishing.