A writer’s voice is a combination of style, phrasing, and flow. It is potentially the most useful tool in the writer’s little pencil box. Some writers possess a voice so easily identifiable that all an astute reader needs are a few sentences to name the source. And voice does not manifest in fiction alone; with the possible exception of newspaper reporting, it can exist anywhere that words are brought together to tell a story.
Now, enough of defining voice. This is a personal story. This is not a training session on how to find your voice. (The way to find your voice is to keep writing until you find it. That’s it. Moving on.)
Several months ago, my brain began doing a rather odd thing—probably brought on by one or more of a few stressors which I won’t go into here. My brain began applying a sing-song inflection to everything I thought, everything I heard, everything I read, and everything I wrote. All words strung together in any perceivable manner turned into this kind of chant in my head.
At the time, I was working on the first draft of the third and final book of my series, Lisen of Solsta. In first draft, my brain’s affliction was active but did not harm the text.
(And, so you’ll know, I ran this past my psychiatrist recently, and he deemed it a passing problem, likely stress related. But he’s not a writer; what does he know?)
A week ago, I moved on to second draft, and I found myself fighting the work but not knowing why. Last night, a painful epiphany hit me like a hammer. If I can’t perceive my writing as anything more than a sing-songy mish-mash of words, how am I going to find the flow? I mean, there’s singing and there’s sing-songing. The former allows words to soar; the latter, a pain in the ass. If I can’t tell if a sentence or a paragraph flows, what the hell am I doing writing at all? Needless, to say, a great many things got thrown around my office last night. Sigh.
So if anyone has dealt with something like this or knows someone who has, let me know. For now the plan is for me to let the writing go for a little while and let my poor, aching brain rest and hope to God (hear me, God?) that the little chanting person in my head moves on to some other soul and lets me have my mojo back. I am a writer, damn it! And Lisen’s story needs an ending.