Sunday 7th March 2021

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this weekend.

I’m still a mix of emotions.  There’s part of me that accepts that this is a business and as such shit happens.  It’s not about getting knocked down.  It’s about how you get back up.

But there’s a part of my that’s angry for a lot of reasons.  There’s a part of me that’s sad.  There’s part of me that’s worried.

Look, I have other stories.  I have a load of other stories.  But at the moment, my reading interests are such that they all link back to the same themes.  And I know that whatever I do next it has to be different.

On the plus, the novel I’m currently editing is very different to what I’m feeling.  It’s light and fun whereas I feel all dark and serious.

But thinking further ahead, I’ve given a lot of thought as to why another first draft felt like such a struggle.  And I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s voice.

One of the things I always struggled with when I first took my writing seriously, was the concept of voice.  What was it?  How did I discover mine?  I’m still not sure of the latter, but I do know what good voice is (to me at least).

When I’m grinding in World of Warcraft, I often like to listen to audiobooks.  It helps alleviate some of the boredom that comes from doing things such as leveling your Xth character through the same old zones.  I listen to all sorts but some are easier listens to others.

Now some of this can be down to the narrator.  A good narrator will inject something into the performance.  They’ll take words that are on the page and breathe life into them.  But sometimes, even when there’s a good narrator, I’ll find I’ve not really been listening as I play.  Some books become a struggle, even if there’s nothing technically wrong with the prose.

That for me is voice.  I want a book that does things with language that grab my attention and hold it.  I think back to recent books that have really stuck with me such as Nevernight and Addie Larue.  Whether I’ve listened to them in audiobook form or read them as a hardback, the words on the page wrap round me like a warm blanket.  I sink into that prose.

It has to be accessible.  Go too far the the story becomes slave to the language, but balanced just right, language can elevate a story.

And that’s what I feel is missing from some of my most recent writing.

I can create worlds, construct a plot, build characters, but I also need to have a clear idea of voice.

I think back to Black As Knight.  I had recently finished reading Wolf Hall and I loved the first person present it was written in.  That heavily influenced me and when I came to write that book, taking something that could so easily have been a difficult style, just felt so natural.

So the real learning point for me this weekend has been that just as I need to outline before I start, I also have to have a very clear idea of voice.  How I do this, I don’t know other than reading a ton of books and being influenced by what I read.

There’s work to be done here certainly, but I’m still processing the last week so it’s not something I’m going to resolve quickly.  I somehow doubt I’m going to have a productive week next week, but I’m kinda resigned to that.

Past Issues: 743742 | 741
740 | 739 | 738 | 737 | 736 | 735 | 734 | 733 | 732 | 731 | 730 | 729 | 728 | 727 | 726 | 725 | 724 723 | 722 | 721
720 | 719 | 718 | 717 | 716 | 715 714 | 713 | 712 | 711 | 710 | 709 | 708 | 707 | 706 | 705 | 704 | 703 | 702 | 701
700 | 699 | 698 | 697 | 696 | 695 | 694 | 693 | 692 | 691 | 690 | 689 | 688 | 687 | 686 | 685 | 684 | 683 | 682 | 681
680 | 679 | 678
Past Years: 2020 – The Year of Being Fearsome | 2019 – The Year of Soldiering Through | 2018 – The Year of Priorities | 2017 – The Year Of The Offensive