Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012 5:50:44 PM
May Ellen Bird and the Ever After by Jodi Lynn Anderson was a riveting tale that, in my late elementary school years, I enjoyed to no end. Though I enjoyed the story itself, what I enjoyed more was the style of the author’s writing, her voice, and her unique tone. The way Anderson narrated a tale so effortlessly in third person (a point of view I am not particularly good at using) inspired me. I wanted to have a narrating voice just like hers for my future stories so that I could inspire other young writers as well. The way it smoothly paved the path ahead for the story was so beautiful and intriguing that I could not pry away from the rigid pages of the book that told the thrilling story of a young girl (May Ellen Bird) and her hairless cat, Somber Kitty, being transported into what is the resting place of ghosts and specters of all shapes and sizes. The story continued onwards with May Bird developing courage and bravery as she fought her way back home to her mother. Two other books followed May Bird’s adventures, and I consumed them the same as the last.
I felt connected to May Bird, how though she was afraid, she still appeared brave on the outside to keep people around her brave as well. I used this trait when my friends came to shred their burdens on me. Though I couldn’t always help them, I kept a positive expression on my face to keep them positive on the inside. May Bird could also fluently shoot a sarcastic line or retort (something I picked up over the years), and she made friends easily and remained calm in the face of danger. For eons, May Ellen Bird was my role model and my idol and helped me through hard times by taking me to another place that let me time out from heavy reality.
Reading other books, I always looked for those which had narrating like Jodi Lynn Anderson. Some were too stiff or dry, or too exaggerated than what I was searching for. Though I was able to find treasures like Harry Potter and The Golden Compass, I wasn’t entirely satisfied by the fact that only a handful of authors had such beautiful narrative voices. This gave me more reason to create stories with a similar, yet equally as wonderful a tone as Anderson’s. When I wrote my own stories, I aimed for a voice like the authors I so admired. I tried my best to use the techniques I had picked up, and gave my best effort to balance the showing and telling of the unfolding story before me. Being incredibly awful at third, I could not stretch far with the point of view some of my favorite authors had used. I would read paragraphs of theirs’ and try to transfer their style of effortless tone and description into my written pages. It wasn’t very successful, since using third person took away that special personal level I had with my characters. Instead, I had to use my better first person style and hope I could still teach myself and master a solid narration tone. This is where I learned third person point of view was not the best style for me.
My writing voice still needs tweaking, but reading books before writing several pages helps me focus on clearer description and set the tone I want and how I want to style it in my own unique way. For years I have adopted different narrating voices, drifting from one to a better one to another and another like jumping from stone to stone on a riverbank, my story-telling maturing all the while. Maybe someday I will find the right tone when it comes across, or maybe I will continue to build from other authors’ voices as I have always done. All I know is that everyone has their own narration voice and I’m still finding mine.