If I could pick any singing voice to be my own, it would be Karen Carpenter’s. It’s effortless. Her deep alto voice has a richness that my own voice will never have. I sing soprano – not like the angelic choir version of soprano. Think of the obnoxious kid pulling tight on the end of a balloon as the air rushes out. Can you imagine that awful screech? The one that makes dogs howl and little kids plug their ears? Ya, that’s a little closer to what my upper register sounds like.
But Karen. Oh, Karen.
The Carpenter’s Christmas album is nearly a religion at my house. If you don’t love it, we’ll just play it over and over until you can’t get it out of your head. In summer time, when I’m missing Christmas desperately, I sneak her CD in my car and play it for a couple days (yes, days). I sing along, pretending I can hit all the low notes. Deluding myself that I nearly sound like her. If only.
Being a “young” writer, I catch myself doing the same thing with my voice in writing. Each author has their own voice – their own “sound.” I don’t have the pensive rhythm of Lois Lowry or the vibrant descriptions of Stephen King. I don’t have the soothing voice of Chris Van Allsburg or the bubbly joy that Kevin Henkes brings to his writing – but I do have a voice. One that is unique to me. If we try and write like someone else, we’ll be called out eventually. The successful authors know their own voice and create works that showcase it.
What have you done to help yourself find your authentic voice as a writer? How does knowing your voice as an author differ from knowing the voice of the main character in your story? Please reply. I’d love to hear your comments below.
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