I've been wondering something for quite a while. Is it possible that a writer's voice is like an actor's style - in other words, just as there are character actors and actors who are themselves no matter what they play, can you write a "character" voice in which your voice takes a backseat to the character's? Or is a good writer's voice always distinct no matter what and whom they write?

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That's a good analogy, Christa. We do try to get inside our characters' heads, and write them from the inside out.

Here's the thing: If two great actors play the same character (Hamlet, for instance), they're going to bring parts of themselves--their voice, if you will--into that role. Same character, same dialogue, different actor. Different Hamlet.

And so it goes with authors. If Stephen King were to write a Sherlock Holmes novel, it would sound a lot different than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It would still be Sherlock Holmes, but it would have King's literary voice stamped on it.

If that makes any sense.
i think of voice as a word that's trying to define something that cannot be clearly defined or contained. voice is always shifting and changing depending on story, characters, personal growth, perspective. i think it's a great word for something impossible to really grasp. i often try different writing styles, but i always default back to something i think of as my voice even though it's always changing and evolving. it's like putting on that old pair of jeans i've always loved.

and i do think my voice should take a backseat to the character's voice, but their voice is still going to be shaded by my own way of looking at things. otherwise i don't think i'd like to write.


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