Those of you following this blog since the beginning know that the regular posters are three writers. Three very different writers. If someone were to blindfold you and force you to listen to our blog posts read aloud—not that anyone would EVER do that—chances are, even after such a short acquaintance, you could identify the blogger. We three have completely different voices.
Mine? Easy, light and breezy, I often cut into my own thoughts and pick up the main theme later. Sort of stream of consciousness meets, oh, look, something shiny! You get it. That’s my blog voice.
The voice I write in is different and it changes among the genre I write. For my Hayden Kent traditional bordering on cozy series, the voice is still light and breezy, but there are nuances. The books are set in the Florida Keys, and the style and voice reflect the feel of the tropics. The stories deal with death, but the tone, which is a part of voice, is light.
My traditional bordering on suspense novels feature a darker voice. Catherine Swope is an ex-cop. She doesn’t have the luxury of blundering. Her lover is a serving cop. Oh look, something shiny does not enter into the equation. Nuances still figure in to define the relationships and the boundaries, but the voice and style are different. The books have a darker, more serious tone and the language usage changes to reflect that. There is an overarching sense that things may not turn out well and the voice reflects that possibility.
Two series, one writer, different voices. How’s a writer supposed to build a brand. Didn’t we all learn in creative writing classes that the voice should always be consistent? Dickens (who needs no first name) is different from Sinclair Lewis (who does need a name identifier). PD James is different from Rita Mae Brown. Two paragraphs into any of these writers and the reader should be shouting, “I know who that is…I recognize the voice.” Insert loud screeching of brakes here.
Dickens and Lewis wrote standalones. They could afford one voice. They needed the immediate recognition. That’s what sold their books. James (who I deeply miss) and Brown write series. More than one series. James’s Dalgliesh will never be mistaken for her Cordelia Grey. No one will ever confuse Brown’s Mrs. Murphy books with the Sister Jane Arnold books. Each of these series has its own voice. Separate and distinct, yet each voice is immediately identifiable to its own series.
One voice per writer? Bah, humbug! That’s much too limiting to the writer. Writers are by nature shapeshifters. We create worlds, characters, and situations. Voice is craftwork, a weapon in the arsenal of writing, like setting, structure, and conflict, it exists to identify and serve the story arc. Limiting a writer to one voice is as pointless as limiting a writer to one theme. There is no need, and it’s a death knell to creativity.
Oh, look, something shiny!