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The Daily Life of a Compulsive Writer

Finding Your Voice… Or Killing It September 21, 2010

Filed under: Writing — katblogger @ 10:12 PM
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I complain about Twilight. A lot. Mostly because there are so many excellent authors struggling to get a little recognition, and in strolls someone who writes sort of okay, has a plot with more holes than Swiss cheese… and yet makes millions. It’s enough to make any potential author scream – or wonder how much they can make with a trashy vampire novel rip off.

But one of the worst things about Twilight is that it’s told by a teenage girl. Only it’s not.

Let’s look at some sentences, shall we?

“I was ivory skinned”

“When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it’s not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end”

“Edward… blah blah… perfection… blah blah… gold eyes… blah blah… Greek god…” Ok… that one’s not in there. But pretty much.

Notice something about these? If you didn’t, go to a high school. Listen to the teenage girls. Chances are, they don’t talk like this. Have you ever heard a girl call herself ‘ivory skinned’? Or… gosh, I can’t even start on the second sentence. And I don’t think Bella ever refers to Edward as hot, but does on one occasion refer to him as a Greek god. Who refers to guys as Greek gods? (Norse, I understand, but that’s a different story…) Anyway, the problem is, Meyer appears to have forgotten how teenage girls talk. And when a seventeen – eighteen year old girl is telling the story, in first person no less, you’ve got to get the voice right.

But teachers are always talking about finding your voice, right? And once you’ve found it you should hold on tight and never let go, right? Not really. Some parts of your voice will always be there. But you’ve got to twist it to suit the story. The same story told by a teenage boy and a teenage girl would be drastically different, and you need to remember that.

But I’m willing to bet that neither of them would refer to themselves as ‘ivory skinned’.


One Response to “Finding Your Voice… Or Killing It”

  1. I’m a doctor who writes physician bluegrass fiction. My novel is ‘The Mandolin Case.” I try to make the characters talk the way I hear them speak to me in me in real life. If I’d had them all talk like a doctor it would have been a boring book.

    Dr. B

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