Friday, 2 October 2009

What Kind of Voice Have I? (Sung out of tune)

Much is written about finding your voice, tone of voice, style and similar; indeed, it is something I worried at for a long period.

I was continually complimented on my writing at university by kind tutors, and wondered what it was they could see that I could not. I report this not as a puff to myself but as a problem for any writer.

Reading back to yourself a piece you have written cannot be equated to standing in front of a full length mirror. While it is true the silvered surface first presents you with all the faults you imagine of yourself, it is still possible to regard your image reasonably objectively.

When reading my own writing, all I replay is the struggle I had selecting every word, the choice of phrase, the debate I had about the structure of each sentence, and am still left wondering if one of the alternatives would not have been better. I find it virtually impracticable to view it dispassionately. And I certainly find it impossible to identity my voice.

I assume all writers discover this to be the case. I sincerely hope so, I don't want to be a loner all my life.

Now, what has brought on this crisis is the next book I am planning. It will, if all goes to plan, take in a tour of different European cities at different times during the last couple of centuries. I have been considering ways and means of achieving this so that the book does not rely  purely on description to indicate different times, different places, but also on the texture of the writing. The danger is, if mishandled, it will resemble nothing more than a collage of poor pastiches of the various periods and so will prove an affront to the eye.

So, I conclude in my most judicial manner, there must be a single world view to act as the foundation for these historical monuments. Or a point of view, securely located in a defined era, that describes what it sees and how it sees with a definitive tongue.

I am sure I am not explaining myself clearly as I am still groping towards an understanding of how I want to achieve what I want to achieve . The thought is yet to emerge and remains somewhat wobbly in outline.

In my next post, I will use some examples to clarify something of what I am saying - especially the world view point.

1 comment:

Lane said...

Do you mean like an omnipresent narrator or am I missing the point?

I'll wait for clarification:-)