William Gass tells us that we are doing much more than constructing sentences, paragraphs and poems when we write: ‘You do not tell a story; your fiction will do that when your fiction is finished. What you make is music, and because your sounds are carriers of concepts, you make conceptual music, too’ (Gass, 1977). The mark of any great work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry is the ‘voice’ of the narrator. Voice can elevate a piece to greatness beyond any plot, subject or genre. Voice is ghostly, though, and nebulous. It is not located in a single word, or even a sentence. A writer’s ‘voice’ is the most elusive element in any piece of writing. It is located in all of the narrative techniques we will discuss in this book, but also in none of them alone. So chapter 3 focuses on one of the most essential aspects of voice: the rhythm and sound of our writing and its role in creating an unforgettable original ‘voice’. If we can find the ‘voice’ in our poetry or prose, then we have uncovered the heart of the piece … it brings our work to life.
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