On personally-motivating quirks.
Someone on Scribophile was asking about voice the other day. I said what I thought, which is this: voice in writing is the same thing as personality for an actor. Voice is the quintessential elixer of you; it’s the kinds of jokes you tell, and the manner of setups you create. It’s the flavor your soul gives to the writing.
In order to be yourself, you need to embrace all the quirks of personality that drive you. I, for example, am fond of quality tack for horses. Well-made bridles make my knees quiver. I am tempted to spend money on items that I literally don’t need, like barn halters and supple jumping saddles, just because they spark my imagination and fill me with childish glee.
I don’t need these things, because I currently have no horse to strap them onto, but I want them anyway. When I am an independent and wealthy person, I will have rooms of those wire saddle racks, neatly filled with superfluous saddlery items. At that point, of course, I will also have a horse upon which to use such equipment.
In the meantime, here is how to use your personality quirks to add strong voice to your writing:
- Think of something that you really, really like. Hopefully this thing has no practical use, currently, in your life. You just like it, because.
- Take your novel, and incorporate the object from step 1 into the scene you are currently writing. Allow yourself to get into the particular happy-euphoric state of mind that hovers around your special object(s).
- Let the warm glow of affection for your beloved item(s) shed freely over the characters, the scene, and the overall mood.
Tomorrow I will post a good and bad example of how such investment of self imbues your writing with your personality, and results in vigorous voice.