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.