Voice Recognition: Why the Creative Voice

When reading a story, one can perhaps immediately establish the tone the piece is taking. Sure, it’s easy to talk about in terms of technicalities: first person, or second person, omniscient, limited – these are things, tenses, that a piece takes on in order to ground the reader to some point in time, or to establish a relationship between the reader and the text. It forms boundaries – or a semblance of boundaries – so that the reader will be given a frame through which he or she views the text. It may sound to the reader as if the text is happening at the moment, or as if the text is talking or referring directly to the reader, or as if the text sounds so detached to the reader that even the narrator sees the entire narrative through a lens. There are a lot of ways in which the text could be viewed, and the tenses and the voice count.

The creative voice – the voice of the text – matters, precisely for the same reasons I’ve mentioned earlier. The voice – the manner in which the text was written, how it sounds, how the narrator sounds to the reader – counts a lot. If the reader is new to the text, and has just found it, the reader would most likely test out a line or two, maybe a paragraph, to see of the voice jives with him or her, to see if the voice is easy or jarring, and to use this immediate impression as a springboard from which the reader takes off. Will the reader continue to read? Is the voice too easy? Does it sound like a kid talking, or does it sound so complicated and technical that it could ward off the reader or not get the reader’s interest? It’s definitely important to consider that, whether in reading or in writing, the voice exists in that manner because the author did it that way, and therefore there must be some reason why the author did it a certain way.

I’m talking in vague terms here, and it’s easy to get confused. Let’s put it this way: think of the text as someone talking to you. Does the text talk with ease? Does the text talk in clipped sentences? Does the text engage you and involve you, in how it was written, or does it alienate you? If you think of the voice of the text in these terms, it will be easier to establish your footing and your relationship – whether emotional or otherwise – with the text. If you’re writing, especially, it might be good to consider what the effect of your narrative voice is on your reader.

What does this mean? Bottomline is, if the voice doesn’t sound good, or if it doesn’t flow well, or if it does not work with the narrative or achieve that desired effect, it will certainly be problematic to your reader. The effectiveness of the voice relies on how well it is written, and how well it sounds. You might have a good, beautiful, flowery text, with a lot of things and images going on, but if it doesn’t sound like the voice is doing you any good, it might be a problematic kind of voice for you. Or, think of it this way. If the text is read aloud to you, do you suppose you’d like how it sounds like, being read aloud?

Of course, the voice – and how good it sounds – may also be a matter of preference, but that’s one thing to think about, don’t you think? Don’t keep the voice too complicated – if you’re writing – or try at least not to alienate the reader with the way the narrative and your characters are speaking. Establishing a good first impression is key, wherever you are and whatever happens, and it’s in the sample that a reader randomly picks out and in the voice which presents itself immediately that may make or break the reader’s relationship with the text.


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Answers to Some of the FAQs on Creativity

I was reading a bunch of stuff online in search of something inspiring. Instead, I ended up looking into several ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ pages on websites. This gave me a thought. Why not explore some of the most asked questions about creativity, and hopefully provide answers? I asked a number of people to tell me what they would like to know about creativity. These were a mix of people from my phonebook, email contacts, some Facebook friends, and random Twitter followers. I stumbled over many interesting ones, but I especially chose the few which, when answered, will be able to inspire. See if you have asked yourself any of these.


Is there such a thing as being too young to showcase one’s creativity?


No, there isn’t. In fact, there isn’t such a thing as too old either. When you have painted, written, choreographed, or invented something new, the first thing people would want to know is why and how you did it. They don’t always ask about your age. Well, maybe if you’ve become incredibly famous overnight, they would want to know more about your background eventually. But how old (or young) you are is not much of a concern in the world of creativity. If anything, being either too young or too old and still capable of doing something amazing is a plus factor.


Can I label a style or manner of creating as my own even when it’s inspired by another artist?


Of course. And you should. My co-author on this blog wrote about matters of originality in one of the older posts titled ‘It’s A Steal! (Or, Creativity Through Copying)‘, just so you’d get a more thorough explanation. Personally, I think we have a right to call a reproduction of another artist’s work as our own for the mere fact that our copy is a product of our efforts. I understand that the question is about the style or the manner of creating. If that is the case, it is a revision rather than a replication. So yes, you may call it your own.


What is the importance of consistency in the quality of your work?


First of all, an artist should never risk the quality of his or her work for whatever reason. It’s important to be consistent in quality, but in instances where there is a deadline to be met, you must free yourself from any distraction and manage your time well. Consistently in quality is a must, but not to be confused with consistency of the work entirely. Creativity, after all, is all about innovation and trying new things. If you stick to what you know or stick with how you are used to doing things, you will never know how much further your creativity can go. It’s best to widen the range of your skills.


When can you say that you have reached the peak of your career in creativity?


When I read this question, I ended up asking another question. Does a career in creativity reach a peak at all? Not everyone with a career is using his or her creativity, and not everyone who is creative is making a career out of it. If you have made your creativity a career, a peak would mean an end, but only if you stop trying to outdo the best that you’ve done. Don’t look at creativity as a career. Instead, look at it as a lifelong commitment. It reaches a peak, but it will only be one point among  the many highs and lows of such commitment.


How can I make a profit out of my creativity?


Actually, this should be the last thing you should think about. This question tends to have a negative effect on your creativity because instead of focusing on the true value of your work, it lets your mind wander off to a danger zone where monetary profit may eclipse your initial motive to create. I suggest that you think of ways on how you can maximize your skills by always looking for inspiration, so that you keep creating interesting things. When the mass production is ongoing, that is the best time to think of how you can sell your work.

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