Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The writer's voice--more than just style and prose

Posted by: Evey Brett

So. . . what do you think of when you think of Voice? Prose? Style of writing? That’s what I took for granted it was, until I went out to visit my friend and fellow M/M writer, Jessica Freely, and we had several good writing discussions including one about voice. See, I was worrying about how I kept using the same themes in my books, and Jessica told me about a presentation about voice at a convention she went to, which basically boiled down to: Voice is what’s important to you and what you have to say about it.

This is also an extension of Write What You Know. It doesn’t just mean that, say, I have nine Lipizzans in my backyard and therefore I know about horses and will write stories involving horses. It’s more about the reasons the horses are there. In Demon’s Due, out August 8th, the horses are there for spiritual and physical support, not just because I wanted one of the main characters to be a rider or set the story at a ranch. What I know about horses isn’t merely the names for the tack and how its used, but what it means to be with my horse Carrma, how she makes me feel better if I’ve had a bad day or gives me that look (see picture) to guilt me into taking her for a walk or giving her a treat. I know the connection that’s deeper than any I’ve had with any other animal. The human/horse relationship is fascinating and important to me, so I write about it. Though, my perspective on it is different than my housemate's, and my riding teacher's, someone who rides once a month, someone who's ridden once but fallen off, and someone who's never ridden. This is my viewpoint on that relationship, and therefore, my voice.

It’s a deeper sort of knowing than, “I lived in San Diego, the streets go XYZ, Sea World is laid out like this…” It’s what San Diego means to me. I love San Diego. I loved my apartment there. That’s why I put it in the Demon books; I wanted to show everyone else how beautiful the landscape is and how much I loved certain locations—Torrey Pines Reserve and Cabrillo National Monument in particular. (This is me at Cabrillo.)

Me on a rock

There are also other elements I know and that are important to me, which are the recurring themes in my stories: psychologically broken characters, characters trapped and manipulated by others, older/wiser mentor figures, evil doctors/healers, and my characters are nearly always psychic or telepathic. The stories are largely the same; character overcomes traumatic past and finds his true self with the help of his new lover. I won’t give you the details on why I write those things specifically, but there are reasons which took me a long time to figure out. Sometimes we don't know why we write what we do--it just happens.

So you can probably tell from the above list my stories are dark and not for everybody. I can’t help what I write. Demon’s Due is going into the horror category and so will Demon’s Dawn, which is out in October. My voice is dark. Maybe after I find Ms. Right my voice will change to something lighter and I’ll finally be able to write romance because I'll know what romance is and it'll be important.

Until then…this is my voice, and I’m sticking to it. Now tell me about yours. What themes keep appearing in your stories? What's your voice?

Evey Brett

Demon's Dance

Demon's Due, 8/06/11

Demon's Dawn 10/17/11


  1. Ooh that's an interesting point. My stories are often about people trying to battle out of chains - literal, figurative, cultural, social, sometimes just the chains of everyone else's expectation. It probably says something deep about me :D

  2. Great post. I've noticed recurring themes and character qualities in my own writing too. Certain things just work for me as a reader and as a writer. A little afraid to analyze them too deeply.

  3. That's an interesting take on voice. I always vaguely thought it was how we put words together -- and couldn't identify mine. What's important to you and what you want to say about it...hmm, themes and issues. I'll have to think about it. Thanks for the post :)

  4. Voice is such a hard thing to quantify. But I like your take on it. What something means to you. I always think that I know what it is, but I just can't describe it. Sounds funny, but I know it if I hear it. :) Great food for thought. Nice post!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...