Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Question of Voice

Yesterday I should have really taken my own advice (about small amounts of considered writing being better than reams) but I didn't. Instead I wrote 4,000 words and they didn't work at all. For this I blame Ian McEwan. I went to sleep the previous night with his audiobook in my head. The tinnitus had returned and I needed to drown out its continual booming. The voice entertained me and then, eventually, lulled me to sleep. But unfortunately the voice also lodged there. I know lots of authors say they do not read other novels when they are writing their own but I have never before found this a problem. Maybe Ian McEwan's was too strong, maybe it was because it was written in the third person and therefore more remote than the first person voice I am aiming for, but anyway I kept hearing that voice as I wrote and I think that is why it didn't work at all.

So today I have turned back to reading the voice that first inspired this chapter I am writing now and it is Dave Eggers's in 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius'. It is anarchic, self-indulgent and more youthful, and much more appropriate for the character I have in mind.


Blogger Sue Guiney said...

I definitely try to limit the fiction I read when I'm in the depth of my own novel writing. So, when I'm marketing or researching I try to read as much as possible knowing I won't get to it later. Other voices definitely infiltrate mine, if I'm not careful.

Sun Apr 25, 12:36:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

I know I should too, but I just can't stop. At the moment I'm reading the Eggers book and it's really good. I do think the voice is infiltrating a bit - but I think that's good for this book, and it is what I want.

You do marketing? I don't think I do that. Maybe I should...

Sun Apr 25, 01:41:00 pm  

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