Thursday, 10 October 2013

Voice

I am a number of American women writing romance. I'm a Kurdish man with a memoir to sell. An Irish comedy writer. A US based blogger and internet specialist. An Australian or two. A number of English martial arts and self protection experts.

Which is to say that I've written things for people matching all those descriptions. I won't go into any more detail, because that would be wrong given the nature of my job, but I wanted to give you the vaguest sense of the scope of the people I've worked for at various points.

Why? Because I want to make a point about voice. About individuality. About the fact that no one has questioned whether they have ghost writers or not. No one has said that the finished pieces don't read like them. Certainly, no one has ever said "you know, these books read more like that minor English chap no one has heard of than like X".

I'd like to be able to take credit for that. I'd like to be able to say that I can mimic a client's voice perfectly when I write, so that no one ever knows the difference. And there is a little bit of that. But honestly? It's only a little bit. Another bit of it is probably that clients see samples of my work before they hire me, so there's a chance for them to pick me because I match their voice, but again, that's only a little bit of the answer.

Rather more of it seems to be that people make a bit much of voice. We're individual as writers, certainly. We have patterns of writing and little elements that are ours. We have ways of telling stories. But do we really believe that we're so individual that no one else will ever write like us? That if we put another name on it, people would instantly work it out? People worry so much about getting their voice right, but surely if I can be a voice that fits with all these different people, the voice you have is going to be fine for... well, you?

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