The Voice


The Voice

By Nandy Ekle

Narration. To tell a story. This is the writer speaking to the reader. It’s like a one-person play. 

And this is where a writer’s voice comes in. The voice is the writer’s uniqueness, the choice of words, the rhythm of the words, more dialogue or less dialogue. Some writers are excellent at very detailed description, others just give you a general idea and let you figure it out. But each one is different.

One idea of narration is to write in such a way that the narration is nearly invisible. This can make a great story because the characters are the ones telling the story. 

But I think one of my favorite methods is when the narrator adds flavor. If you ever read The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, you’ve seen this work. The characters are indeed telling the story, but the narrator adds his bits of information, sort of like Adam talked about in his blog. Stephen King also used this method in The Eyes of the Dragon, and Lemony Snicket used it in A Series of Unfortunate Events. 

Using this type of narration adds flavor without getting in the way of what the characters are up to. It can also add a little humor. And there are times when I read a story written in this way that I almost feel the writer in the room with me.

Your assignment is to read a few pages of your favorite book. Pay attention to all the words of the story that are not dialogue or action. 


Outtakes 73


By Cait Collins

I’ve finished the Christmas shopping, fought the crowds at the grocery store, trimmed the tree, hung my stocking, and centered the wreath over the fireplace. My living room looks like a tornado struck it as rolls of wrapping paper, tissue, gift bags, tags, ribbons, and bows litter the floor. I have to finish wrapping all the gifts I’ve purchased for nieces and nephews, family and friends. The cards are addressed and mailed. What have I forgotten? I grab my list and check it again. Everything is done until I starting cooking for my sisters’ birthday dinner. Still, I fell as if something is undone.

I look over at the tree and wonder if it has enough decorations. Should I get out the left-overs and add them to tree? Did I buy enough for the kids? Did I spend enough time writing my letters to the aunts and uncles I seldom see? Have I taken enough time to eat right, exercise, and rest? Have I allowed enough time to enjoy the season or have I allowed the parties, dinners, and all the bad reports from the news media to sap my Christmas spirit.

Reality, the tree looks fine. My nephew, Josh, jointed me for pizza and tree trimming. We talked and laughed while we worked. Our kids always get more than they need. My annual letters to the family are long enough to assure them we are all doing fine. No, I have not eaten right. This time of the year I tend to eat on the run. No on the exercise, but I’ve taken a week off, and I’m really taking a break. The parties and dinners have been enjoyable, and I’ve turned off the news. My nephews and I spent three hours taking in THE HOBBIT. Now I have my feet up and am watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. What more could I want? It is enough.

As I get ready to begin submitting my current work, I ask myself if the novel is good enough. Is there enough description? Are the scenes thoroughly developed? Is there enough back story? Are the characters believable? Even when license is taken with reality, are the events written well enough to make the reader accept it? As I read each chapter, I look for places to improve the manuscript. I work to tame my internal editor to prevent overworking Kate’s story. Even when the final edits are done and the submissions are sent, there will be doubts. It’s the nature of a writer to want to snatch the work back and rewrite one scene or another. It will never be enough. In the end, I must trust my instincts and lay it to rest. I’m almost ready to let go. I’m almost ready to say it is enough.