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Old 05-28-2018, 03:00 PM   #123
ComicBent's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 4,221
Default Re: How important is voice in screenwriting?

Originally Posted by jonpiper View Post
Quickly browsed through the link to Fundamentals of Good Writing, including the Table of Contents and Index. Didn't notice any mention of Writer's Voice or Voice in the pages.

I wonder why. Is "Writer's Voice" a fairly recent term? The book seems to cover all the elements of writer's voice without mentioning voice.
(I swear I wrote a reply to this, but I cannot find it on the board. I guess I wrote it but forgot to post it. Fortunately, I made a copy for myself (I generally save my own posts in CintaNotes, a free program that is indispensable to me). So here it is, for what it is worth.)
I do not know how long ago the term voice began to be used, but it is not something new.

I do not want to start a firestorm here, but I am going to say this. The term voice is really not important except in the vocabulary of literary criticism (and we will say that screenwriting falls into the category of literature, for the sake of this discussion).

It comes down to this. Can you tell the difference between William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway? And I am talking about essentially two things:
  1. Overall style and technique.
  2. Issues and beliefs that motivate the writer and find expression through the first thing style and technique.
That is it in a nutshell. Voice is not something that you teach to someone. Voice is simply what the author is as expressed through his work.

Consequently, you do not need a long discussion of voice in a book on style and rhetoric. By contrast, you could write an essay on the nature of the voices of Faulkner and Hemingway and on the differences between them.

"The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." ComicBent.
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