What is voice?



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  • #16
    Re: What is voice?

    Originally posted by nativeson View Post

    That quality of your writing that makes it distinctly yours. It's a nuance that bleeds into everything, from worldview to themes chosen to dialogue to rhythm of your action lines and a myriad of other stylistic choices.
    Agreed. I'd nutshell that by calling it "presence."


    The state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing.
    "her presence still comforts me"
    synonyms: existence, being there
    antonyms: absence
    A person or thing that exists or is present in a place but is not seen.
    "the monks became aware of a strange presence"
    synonyms: ghost, spirit, specter, phantom, apparition, supernatural being;

    I think a great way to lose that is by watching too much film and TV and not living enough. I can always tell when a writer is copycating and hasn't lived much. I rarely watch TV or film. You can find me out on the streets traversing the world. That's where my inspiration comes from, not film and TV, as they are merely the medium with which to explain where you've been and what you've seen --> OUT THERE!

    I think you know you have a voice when several people ask you if it's a true story. My best compliment to date.


    • #17
      Re: What is voice?

      imho, I think voice is what you as a writer have to say about the world. No two writers will make the same distinct choices - not with character, plot, concept, or any of it. I think it's something ephemeral above and beyond the words on the page. Maybe that's why its so hard to define...

      just my thoughts, surfing and all that.

      Happy Friday and Memorial Day everybody
      life happens
      despite a few cracked pots-
      and random sunlight


      • #18
        Re: What is voice?

        -good ordinary words strung together the right way, and with some magic dust sprinkled on them.

        "...all in good health, and much pleased at having arrived at this long wished for spot, and in order to add in some measure to the general pleasure which seemed to pervade our little community, we ordered a dram to be issued to each person; this soon produced the fiddle, and they spent the evening with much hilarity, singing and dancing, and seemed as perfectly to forget their past toils, as they appeared regardless of those to come."
        Meriwether Lewis, from his journal during the Lewis and Clark expedition

        Beggars slept wrapped in advertising posters torn off fences.
        Jack Kerouac, ON THE ROAD

        The blue-backed notebooks, the two pencils and the pencil sharpener (a pocket knife was too wasteful), the marble-topped tables, the smell of early morning, sweeping out and mopping, and luck were all you needed. For luck you carried a horse chestnut and a rabbit's foot in your right pocket. The fur had been worn off the rabbit's foot long ago and the bones and the sinews were polished by wear. The claws scratched in the lining of your pocket and you knew your luck was still there.
        Ernest Hemingway

        example of a few voices i like. hope i didn't screw up any above words typing them in here.


        • #19
          Re: What is voice?

          Surely a competent screenwriter is sensitive to the specific story, or at least the type of story they are working on, and adjusts their voice, or cultivates a particular voice, accordingly. One's self, one's ego, and one's pride, should not obscure or compromise the best possible version of the script.

          "Write for the script, not just for yourself." ~ Moses

          Alternatively, voice may be an expression of our subconscious ... those parts of our dreams that we cannot see clearly, or do not remember.
          Know this: I'm a lazy amateur, so trust not a word what I write.
          "The ugly can be beautiful. The pretty, never." ~ Oscar Wilde


          • #20
            Re: What is voice?

            I think this also begs the question; is voice actually necessary for a specific movie or TV show to be successful?

            I understand why a rep wants to find a writer with a voice. But does, for example, the typical CGI driven tentpole really have a unique voice?


            • #21
              Re: What is voice?

              Originally posted by juunit View Post
              I think this also begs the question; is voice actually necessary for a specific movie or TV show to be successful?

              I understand why a rep wants to find a writer with a voice. But does, for example, the typical CGI driven tentpole really have a unique voice?
              I don't think a writer's voice on the page is the same as a director's voice or an actor's voice for the same story. No two actors or directors will give the same voice to a given screenplay. They all bring unique voices to the table.

              Also, other questions. Is each writer's voice the same from screenplay to screenplay? Can you change your voice?


              • #22
                Re: What is voice?

                It's funny, I've written a few scripts with my writing partner now and we've definitely developed a combined voice. I've read my individual scripts compared to those we've written together, and they're noticeably different (not surprising I guess).

                The more we write together the more we become in sync with how the other writes, to the point where I sometimes don't know which pages are hers and which are mine.

                Our scripts differ depending on genre / theme / tone etc, but I'd say our voice is fairly consistent across them all.


                • #23
                  Re: What is voice?

                  Funny how everyone in Hollywood land is desperately searching for a voice, then as soon as they find one they do everything in their power to silence it.

                  See Billy Rays speech at lasts years Nichol fellowships award ceremony regarding pathological timidity for deets.
                  Genius sees everything.
                  Genius sees.

                  Posey Mund.


                  • #24
                    Re: What is voice?

                    Voice: What you are saying consistently about life, the world, the human condition.
                    Style: How you say it.
                    "I am the story itself; its source, its voice, its music."
                    - Clive Barker, Galilee


                    • #25
                      Re: What is voice?

                      I'm actually listening to a podcast that discusses this.
                      They start discussing voice at about minute 12. It only lasts a minute, but it's one manager's views on voice.


                      • #26
                        Re: What is voice?

                        Voice is you; there is no other way to put it. It doesn't mean it's uniquely you. It is the choices that comprise a certain cosmology. F.i., short sentences are a common stylistic choice of many writers. It is as uniquely ABC's as it is uniquely XYZ's but it's not everyone's choice. As with everything, balance is important. Voice is necessary for your script to stand out, but forcing the stylistic differentiations can lead you to be too precious. As it is always the case, however, even those pitfalls can be surmounted if your writing shows lots of charm.