Voice: Nonfiction vs Fiction

singer recording.jpgIn yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I don’t like to read middle grade fiction while I’m writing middle grade fiction.  When I do, the other author’s voice has a tendency to sidetrack my character’s voice.  Annoying!

That said, I don’t have the same problem when I write nonfiction. That’s a good thing since I read a lot of reference material, nonfiction all, whenever I undertake a new project. I think the primary reason for this is that my nonfiction voice is so well-developed.  As my son describes it, I sound like a very well read pirate.  When I glare at him, he translates this as “educated but irreverent.”

Because I have developed my nonfiction voice, I can read nonfiction that is poetic or chatty without getting sidetracked.  I can read a rhyming picture book.  I can read a scholarly article.

The only time that I sometimes lose track of my nonfiction voice is when I write about something that I studied in college.  I’m usually pretty good when its history or cultural anthropology but when I write archaeology?  Acadababble emerges.  Acadababble is, quite simply, academic babbling.  No longer do I sound smart but cheeky.  I sound like a professor.  The reason? The hours spent working in archaeology at this point still exceed the hours spent writing about archaeology for a nonacademic audience.  The solution?  Write, write and write some more.

Incidentally, that’s the same thing that will eventually make relocating my fiction voice easier.  Write, write and write some more.

–SueBE