These Words Are My Own

On iTunes: These Words Are My Own by Natasha Beddingfield (video on sidebar)

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My majors in college were a) English with a double emphasis in Film and British Lit and b) Cross Cultural Sociology. I was three hours short of a third full major in Communications and somehow managed to graduate in four years. I didn't take any creative writing classes. I didn't think I was good enough.

One of my film profs was big on journaling. He'd give us topics related to the movies we were watching and ask us to write whatever we thought, as if we were speaking aloud, with no consideration for grammar, punctuation or bad language. The journaling exercises were the best preparation for writing fiction I could possibly imagine. They gave me a firm foundation in voice. (I have been remiss in not giving a big shout out to Dr. Gerald Wood, my advisor at CNC. I'll never call him Gerry.)

Voice is what distinguishes writers from one another. Imagine if Janet Evanovich tried to write Twilight or if Stephen King tried to write The Firm. Or if Stephen King tried to write Twilight. (BTW, jealous much, Steve-O?) Weaver is the first of what I hope is a three story arc. While all the stories involve the same set of core characters, each book is from the perspective of a different character.

So, here are my questions. If you're a writer, do you have any tricks to get into the head of the character's you're writing, such as a playlist or a piece of art? If you're a reader, how important is voice to you? Have you ever read a book and liked the plot but been too annoyed by the character's voice to enjoy it?

And, coming soon...Edward On A Stick. It's time for him to go viral.


  1. EDDIE where are you? I can't wait for your debut!

  2. Yes, I've put down books because the MC's voice was annoying or bland or totally non-authentic.

    Voice is extremely important. I spend time with my characters, do what I must to sink beneath their skin and start seeing their world through their eyes. (And the workshop I'm giving this weekend will be all about how to do this very thing.) I think that while you as an author have a signature Voice (sassy, edgy, fast-paced etc.), each MC must have his or her own distinct Voice. When YOUR Voice accurately translates your character's Voice, art happens.

  3. P.S. Have I mentioned how much I hate word verification? Or how much it hates me? Gah.

  4. I am very aware of Kaleb's voice, but my book three character is a little elusive. That's okay, I have time to peg her. Assuming I get to write her.


  5. Word ver: bacanong (Is that a pork bong?)

    Ease up on yourself. Write Caleb and let Ava come to you in time. And don't worry so much about whether you'll get to sell the series. You will, one way or another, when the time is right.

    (Ooh, I barely resisted turning that last sentence into a terrible pun. Time is write...Time to veg out with Lost before I lose my marbles completely!)

  6. I think you should do Lily too :)

  7. Voice is what captures me the most. I wanted to write Gabriel for years, but it never sounded right until I did an experiment in first person. Suddenly, there she was.

    Some of the ways I flesh out my characters are writing profiles for them in my trusty, purple, faux snakeskin notebook and putting them on Twitter.

    Word verification: briti (adj.) amazingly bright and pretty.

  8. To get inside Marenya's head, I watch this:

    Aragorn Doesn't See EowynSappy, but effective.

  9. Today's word ver:

    hollu: An informal greeting used between mullet-wearers. Combination of the words "holler" "at" and "you." Must be said w/a Southern accent.

  10. Oh, and I couldn't get into Faldur's head at first. I just had to keep writing until I "found him." Ironically, I now know him better than I know Marenya.

    "Come In Character" has helped me with both of them.

    Word Verification: exoldebu. No idea what it might mean, but it sounds great. "Exoldebu!"

  11. Coming from a reader only...voice is very important to me. It sets MY mood. So, since I really can't put into words what I want to say about voice (and I have a 5 yo harassing me to color w/her), that's all I can write right now.

  12. Right now, the book I'm reading has an irritating voice but I love the travel descriptions so I'm sticking with it.

    It really annoys me when nearly 40-yr-old women act and sound like teenagers. And when authors say that humans "scamper." IMHO, it requires four short, furry legs to scamper.


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