Voice and Content

Voice ~ the expressions of a novel, the attitude that is woven into words. It’s a powerful element, as powerful as fire, water, earth, and air are to the creation of science. No matter the tone (fear, love, or pure narration), the voice paints the scene.

When I think of the voice of a novel, I think of an invisible bond between author and reader. Much like the bond between a gardener and the sensitive plant. Voice is the gardener’s touch as they care for the plant. The right touch is the key of a positive reaction. A gentle touch which curls the leaves of a stem. But, a touch that is too weak or too harsh can bring about a negative result.

A weak voice equates to the plant withering with boredom. Would you ever listen to a lecture if the person spoke to softly or in monotone? More than likely, you may find yourself falling asleep.  A death sentence for any novel. The voice must draw in the audience like a moth to the flame: “Call me Ishmael”, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The voice gives your words a soul to breathe and live with this world.

However, too harsh a voice has an adversive reaction as well. Taking us back to the gardener, if clip the sensitive plant’s branches, it will withdraw – curling its leaves and stems into itself for protection. If the voice is too harsh, the reader may withdraw from the pages. This is not the reaction you wish. You need a voice that everyone wants to hear. You want to speak in a way in which your words become your strength.

A delicate balance is needed to form the union ~ gardener and plant, author and reader. The right touch, the right voice. It is a matter of balance, and it’s one only your heart can guide you on.

3 thoughts on “Voice and Content

  1. I really like the analogy of a gardener’s touch here. Recently I’ve tried experimenting a bit more consciously with the voice of my writing, varying it in ways that don’t come as naturally. I still don’t have a firm grasp of what my primary voice is, how it sounds/feels to others (although my understanding of that is slowly getting better). Something to think about more and work on…


    1. What I have found a lot of times help me find my voice is reading the novel out loud (usually to my cats) or asking a first reader read it out loud with me (usually a close relative).


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