Monday, August 15, 2011

Conversation vs. the "Writer's Voice"

When I was a kid, I used a lot of big words (and was generally harassed for it). I was a walking dictionary, and I wasn't afraid to whip those SAT words out in conversation.

But I wanted more. I loved language. Sometimes I wished I talked more like the stories I read--colorful metaphors, strong verbs, and vivid descriptions.

Unfortunately, it felt awkward whenever I tried it, like I was reciting lines in a play. 

Plus, I was pretty sure it would go down like this:

So instead I talked like everybody else, and now I'm pretty sure I am irrevocably stuck doing so:

Sometimes I think I don't really "sound" like a writer. But usually I'm glad I keep the poetry on the page. It just sounds false to me otherwise.

What do you think? Do writers talk differently than everyone else? What about poets? Do you ever order your words in a conversation the way you'd do in a story?


  1. Thank goodness I don't write the way I speak! I hear myself sometimes and think, 'is that the best you can do? You're supposed to be a writer!'

  2. Those images are awesome! Haha.

    My conversational diction and my written pieces are completely different. In fact, a lot of times my writing is too formal, so lately I've been trying to make it more conversational. I don't know if I'm succeeding.

    Though, as simple as this entry was, it is pretty thought provoking. I enjoyed it.

  3. Sarah: Good to know I'm not the only one, at least. The funny thing to me is mostly that I do it ON PURPOSE. I'm halfway ashamed of myself, but at the same time I know I'm not going to change. It's interesting.

  4. JJ: Thank you! And good thoughts about conversational writing ... I'm always trying to find that sweet spot, where the "voice" of the main character is coming through strong (I almost always write 1st person or close 3rd) but I'm still using evocative language and poetic prose. It's a struggle.

  5. i've never thought about this! interesting!

  6. Oh I think so! When I was a kid, I just loved making up scenes and stories (when I was young enough to play pretend, I would invent ellaborate scenarios for my "the country girl and her sister the evil country girl and the case of the stolen puppies" or "the girl in our 1st grade class is really the doll I have at home" or "the girl in my 6th grade class is an alien" (I was a lot of fun; made some enemies too); in high school, I would make up stories as me and my friends walked around the track in PE; one time about a tree coming to life)

    So, while they may not hve been...well, good...I certainly gained a following. As I have gotten older, I would say I have gotten more private with writing and turned to feeling like I should write "literary, "real," fiction...but lately I have realize how much this fantasy/inventive side has always been a part of me!

    So, long answer short, yes! We do speak (and interact) just a little bit different than everyone else!

  7. Nicole: I made up a lot of stories for my brothers when I was a kid, too. :-)

  8. This story includes the information of conversation of writes voice really its very funny.


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