There are many articles on Voice in writing. PhD and graduate theses written on this subject define and analyze. Editors often say they look for “strong and distinctive voice.” Voice trumps everything: misspelling, typos, even a plot that isn’t all there. These can be fixed in revision. Characters can be made deeper and more complex. Descriptions can be added. A writer can change all the passive construction this one just heaped on here.
But not a lack of this thing we call, here I’ll shout it, VOICE.
The other night I heard my late grandmother’s voice saying, in her distinct Yiddish accent, “Vat is dis ting they call voice? Vy dey fuss so much about it? Can you tell it to me plain?”
And still half asleep, I thought I had one of those perfect illuminative distillations. I heard myself answer her.
“Voice is the personality of the narration.”
Nice going, I thought. Gotta write it down somewhere. Wake up and find your pencil.
But grandmother was not so impressed. “Vat poisonality? You have poisonality, maydaleh. Dis narr—vat you call it, it is not a poisonality.”
So I’m still in search for a clear and simple way to say it. No highfaluting verbiage. Writing about writing can get fancy.
But at least I heard my grandma’s voice.