A Storyteller's Voice
by Pierre Gilson
There are so many layers to writing a book, novel, comic, short story, or blog for updating purposes. Each consists of its quirks and structure to give an understandable and easy read. Readers are pulled into stories by the plot and themes laid throughout the storytelling process. Today I’m here to tell you about one of the most important parts, the spirit the intrigues readers and immerses them in your story, the voice of a story.
What’s voice? Well, the voice is a person’s unique way of forming words and the emotion that follows them. In real life, you can tell who is talking by the way they enunciate. In stories, the way the author/writer forms sentences, and paragraphs that accompany the three act structure are the definition of voice. The voice, or, Storyteller’s Voice, is the writer’s autograph, their Instagram handle, or their personal hashtag if you will. The mighty vocals that stretch through a manuscript can be heard from even the hard of hearers if one has perfected this skill. It is because the voice connects the author, the story, and the reader in a complimentary relationship that causes the reader and even the writer to forget that what they are either writing or reading is story. A fictitious character will be alive, breathing from the exposition to the rising action, all the way to climax, leaving the reader yearning to make it over the hill to see how the tale ends.
Bringing out your individual voice isn’t as easy as some may think, in fact, a lot of people fail. You know those stale or generic books and films that have no enthusiasm, creativity, or liveliness to them? Yeah, those are the ones that lack the writer’s voice. During the 1950-60s, the world of literature had phenomenal authors who place their distinctive fingerprints on their novels. C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, William Faulkner, Dr. Seuss, and Harper Lee set the bar of instilling spirit in storytelling. When I read them, I feel as though I am at a campfire with one of the shamans of old, being enthralled by the story they are telling. Storytelling is as much spiritual as much as it is intellectual, and as a writer, you must support both.
I was in a situation during a reading of my manuscript for WWOAH (World Without A Home): Vol.2 that had me distraught. My project manager and fellow author/creative writer, Damien T. Taylor, told me that he did not feel my story, that it did not have a unique tone that was able to pull him in. If you didn’t know, all writers are sensitive about their work, and so I went through of series of self-critiquing until I thought of the best idea possible, ask for guidance. I contacted Troy Denning, Star Wars & Halo Author, about my plight. He was nice enough to give me great advice and referred to me a great book, which I call the Golden Ticket that is called Story, written by Robert Mckee aka “The Master of Film.” I’m also a screenwriter, so this book was needed even more. As soon I went through the pages about archetypes over stereotypes I was captivated immediately by the things I did not know; how young writers love to be individuals and deny traditional structure even though they don’t have an understanding of how writing works, or how a writer that has something to share rather than to flaunt will ultimately be successful are only a crumb of the wisdom I’ve acquired. Whether if it is narrative or film, a story is universally the most influential art form, so it deserves your best work and respect.
Some ways you can improve your voice is to read the classic stories from writers and even films that set the bar. Practicing different styles to strengthen your own will not only make you a powerful writer but also strengthen your knowledge and confidence. Last but not least, have a critique partner to build you up or give you the honest truth. Have faith in yourself and your voice, if you don’t, I’m sure I won’t hear anything about your work for a while.