Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Quiet Down--I'm Trying to Read

Yep. We all know it's true. A strong voice is vital to a strong manuscript. Many notable editors believe voice is the one important writing element that can't be taught. You either have it or you don't. And nowhere is the voice stronger than in two formats currently enjoying success in YA: the first person "monologue" and the diary. When I read a book written in either of these formats the voice is often as loud as a leaf blower on a Saturday morning. I may want to know what happens next, but sometimes I wish someone else could tell me. Does anyone else agree that sometimes the voice is just too loud?


  1. Yes, I agree that sometimes hearing everything from one POV gets irritating, but the fun in it is trying to figure out how reliable this person is.

  2. I confess I don't know what you mean by a voice that's "too loud."

  3. What I mean is when nothing fades into the background. Each word is so in your face in the narrator's voice. It's so easy to fall into "telling" rather than "showing." Conversations don't happen. The narrator tells you about his/her conversations. Everything that happens in the story is so colored by the narrator's POV. I guess it's the self-absorption that gets to me.

  4. J.A.
    If you wouldn't mind, I'd love to hear an example or two of povs that have shouted at you.

  5. I think I understand what you mean. There are times I have to put a book down, not because my eyes are tired of reading but because a narrator is getting to me.

    A lot of YAs are written in that very in-your-face style. Some are better than others. Even the good ones can get irritating after awhile. Nothing a good bookmark can't help out with.

    Unfortunately, I think that's why a lot of "quiet" books don't get considered. Or at least go unnoticed.