What is voice?

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  • What is voice?

    I'm sure this isn't the first time this subject has been broached. But I think it makes for an interesting topic of discussion, so what the hell.

    From my viewpoint, voice is simply what makes a script standout from the rest. Or, a script that doesn't have a voice seems like everything else someone has read. I say it fairly often about the majority of scripts, that they all feel as if they could've been written by the exact same person. They feel generic in every way.

    Essentially, writing is about putting yourself on the page. Everyone has a unique confluence of life experiences and thoughts and that combination means everyone should theoretically be able to sound slightly different in their writing from others. Obviously, this is in fact rarely the case, because most people are unable to tap into that honesty. I think it's why people are always encouraged to write what they know. Because what they know should be what separates them from what their neighbor knows and is therefore written in a way that only they could write it.

    Voice can reveal itself in many different ways. It can be in concept, point of view, character, plot development, etc. Ultimately, I think the best advice I can give someone trying to create a unique voice is to not do the obvious thing in their writing. If your character proposes to their fiancee, don't have them do it on the screen at a baseball game.

    Another example I can think of would be the debate around energy. Everyone knows we need renewable energy. Most people agree we need green energy. So the push nation and worldwide is for electric cars and solar power and whatever else. Where the unique viewpoint could come in, is the collateral damage to an individual coal miner who has lost their job and is treated as a pariah due to all this. That's the side of the story we really hear nothing about.

    Curious to hear others' take on how to define this undefinable thing.

  • #2
    Re: What is voice?

    Tra-la-la.

    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.

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    • #3
      Re: What is voice?

      one thing i think about re voice is what isn't said, helps make up the timbre of what is said.

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      • #4
        Re: What is voice?

        "Try to have an opinion. Try not to suck." -- David Simon

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        • #5
          Re: What is voice?

          Originally posted by juunit View Post
          What is voice?
          http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/K..._Bang_Bang.pdf
          "I just couldn't live in a world without me."

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          • #6
            Re: What is voice?

            For a long time I didn't think I had a voice until I understood what it meant, and realized it was always there-- subtle at first until I felt embolden by it.

            It is the part of you that writes without thinking.

            Each of us have unique experiences in life that influence who we are. We have values and perspectives that are not the same as anyone else.

            We have opinions based on what we believe to be the truth of who we are, where we fit in the world and how the world fits us. And when we write, those beliefs, attitudes, and viewpoints shine through our words onto the page.

            Our voice is our unique worldview.

            And everyone has it.
            "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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            • #7
              Re: What is voice?

              Voice ... oh voice ... what is voice? Ah yes, the very quest indeed, lest we fail to grasp the sum of it ... what is mind? ... what is hand? ... what is heart? Question upon question, betwixt here and hereafter. We are but fantasies of relentless desire, condemned to 'life' by our long-corrupted templates. Shall we ever be set free?

              But seriously; voice is the poetry of your writing, either naturally occurring, or, as a working creative, consciously cultivated through artifice.

              And if you don't have a voice, then maybe steal an already successful one that you like.

              "Good artists copy. Great artists steal." - Picasso
              .
              Last edited by Crayon; 05-25-2016, 06:51 AM. Reason: added 'artifice'
              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

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              • #8
                Re: What is voice?

                Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                Our voice is our unique worldview.

                And everyone has it.
                It becomes more obvious as you gain experience and confidence.

                It's an attitude: "This is me. This is how I write. Take or leave it!"
                "I just couldn't live in a world without me."

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                • #9
                  Re: What is voice?

                  Originally posted by StoryWriter View Post
                  It's an attitude: "This is me. This is how I write. Take or leave it!"
                  But what if readers, managers, agents, producers and audiences would rather "leave it"?
                  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

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                  • #10
                    Re: What is voice?

                    Originally posted by Crayon View Post
                    But what if readers, managers, agents, producers and audiences would rather "leave it"?

                    **** em.
                    Genius sees everything.
                    Genius sees.

                    Posey Mund.

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                    • #11
                      Re: What is voice?

                      You know you've found your voice when a producer tells you, "I read the first three pages and without looking at the title page, I could tell you wrote it."

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                      • #12
                        Re: What is voice?

                        Originally posted by StoryWriter View Post
                        It becomes more obvious as you gain experience and confidence.

                        It's an attitude: "This is me. This is how I write. Take or leave it!"
                        Absolutely agree, but confidence more than experience, imo. Or at least that was my experience.
                        "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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                        • #13
                          Re: What is voice?

                          Originally posted by juunit View Post
                          What is voice?
                          I think it's theme.

                          Like, CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR - shall we sign the Accords? Give up our independence or not? Stick together or not?

                          I think it's what it's trying to say. And it'll tend to have a strong voice if all sides of the argument are strongly put forward.
                          Story Structure 1
                          Story Structure 2
                          Story Structure 3

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                          • #14
                            Re: What is voice?

                            Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                            Absolutely agree, but confidence more than experience, imo. Or at least that was my experience.
                            Can't argue with that.
                            "I just couldn't live in a world without me."

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                            • #15
                              Re: What is voice?

                              Originally posted by nativeson View Post
                              Tra-la-la.

                              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.
                              Clap. Clap. Best explanation I've read so far. In much the same way, directors have their own voice. Zack Snyder's voice involves a dark, dreary gloominess to his characters / story, yet presented in an authentic / visually stunning way. I always need a Prozac injection after watching his films.
                              I'm never wrong. Reality is just stubborn.

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