The Most Important Writing Skill to Master—Your Character’s Voice

Listen to this lecture presented at the 2016 805 Writer’s Conference:

yourcharactersvoiceToni Lopopolo, Literary agent, former Executive Editor at Macmillan and St. Martin’s Press, and writing instructor at Temple University

What Toni hears from editors in publishing houses:

“I look forward to building a list that is centered on fun, commercial fiction driven by great characters and told with a strong voice.” Christopher Morgan, Editor: Tor and Forge Books

“What links the authors on my list are the quality of the writing, a distinct, compelling authorial voice, and a strong narrative.”  Keith Kahla, Executive Editor: St. Martin’s Press

“Captivating voices and vividly-realized settings are what get my attention.” Toni Kirkpatrick, Editor: Thomas Dunne Books

“What speaks to me most is a strong narrative voice with a commercial bent.” Kelley Ragland:  Editorial Director, Minotaur Books

“There are a number of storytelling qualities that particularly grab my attention. One of them is a strong, distinctive, compelling voice. Another is the sense that in reading this work of fiction, I’m learning something real about the world.” Patrick Nielsen Hayden: Senior Editor: Tor Books

“The biggest factor when I consider for a novel is voice; without that, the game ‘s over, no need to read beyond page 10. Everything else is secondary. A memoir needs to have both terrific writing and a compelling story, but if the voice is mesmerizing enough, the story will automatically be compelling; it doesn’t work the other way around.” Tracy Bernstein, Editor, Random House, NAL Books

The above represents what Toni hears over and over from editors in New York City’s Big 5 publishing houses and also from smaller established houses, and exclusive literary publishers.

Notice the same word mentioned in each of the above quotes? Voice is what we ‘hear’ when we read a novel, or a work of narrative non-fiction such as Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. The strongest voice stays with us, becomes unforgettable. Toni will discuss how you can create your own distinctive voice for a novel or memoir.

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One Response to The Most Important Writing Skill to Master—Your Character’s Voice

  1. Pingback: How to Murder a Draft, Resurrect A Better Story – AlvaradoFrazier

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