My Southern Writer’s Voice

Posted On Jun 11 2013 by

southern-drawlI think I’ve finally found my writer’s voice. And despite my Michiganian heritage, he has a southern accent.

Seriously…anyone else have this–I won’t call it a problem–oddity? It occurred to me as I’m going through my protag’s dialogue. Since my protags always have the most in common with their creator (me…not that Creator), their voice closely matches my writer’s voice.

I wonder if I should give my writer’s voice a name…

I digress. Anyway, I’m going through my protag’s dialogue and suddenly realize he’s talkin’ with a southern accent. So naturally I had to change his birthplace to Virginia. And, like so many tens of Virginians, he migrated to Michigan for the weather and labor strikes.

I guess Fred Starling (my protag) is still more Virginian than Michigander. Once you’ve lived in the south, especially the Old South, it’s hard to shake that off. I know this because I spent my formative junior high and high school years in Virginia Beach, then Yorktown (yeah…it’s that cool). Much to my father’s chagrin, I adopted Virginia as my second home. My Alabama-born mother didn’t seem to mind so much.

But this incident with Fred Starling made me wonder (which I just pronounced “wonduh” in my head), do other writers find that their internal voices sound differently than their real voices? I’ve always been drawn to movies with a southern narrator. Even now, I’m reading a Joshilyn Jackson novel and loving the narrative (first person…three main characters) so much that I couldn’t care less how the story turns out. I badly want to tell someone that I’m going to “shoot their looky eyes out.”

Or perhaps all American writers prefer the southern dialect simply because it tends to be more vibrant, more descriptive, and more emotional. But I could probably say the same thing about a New York accent. Although the term “colorful” would probably be more accurate for that dialect.

So how about you? Does your writer’s voice take on a different tone or completely different dialect?


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Last Updated on: June 11th, 2013 at 12:29 pm, by Ron

Written by Ron

Just about everything I believe has been shaped by the written word. But books don't force a belief; they stir the imagination so that you, the reader, eventually draw your own conclusions. We grow richer in spirit when we read, deeper in our understanding of the universe and our role in it. That's why I read. That's why I write. To offer you a bit of myself. Come along on my journey, won't you? There's plenty of room.

One response to “My Southern Writer’s Voice

  1. Nice-lookin’ blog here, Ron! And yes. I grew up in the south and WV. When I wrote my mystery set in WV, I had to use colloquialisms that would ring true for those of us who live here. AND YET you can’t get so far-out an editor says, “What the WHAT are you talking about there! NO IDEA.” I love books that integrate the dialect without going overboard spellin’ it out. Glad you’re finding your voice.