Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Three Cheers For The Inauthentic Voice

I raise a toast to the "inauthentic voice." (Sound of glasses clanging.) What? You've never heard of inauthentic voice? Well neither have I, actually. However, I have heard the masses shouting about "finding one's authentic voice" for so long I figure its polar opposite must exist somewhere. But since I haven't had luck finding it elsewhere I figured I'd give it voice (pun intended) myself. I've therefore come up with a couple reasons to support finding an inauthentic voice. Here they are:

  • Finding an inauthentic voice is easy. Who likes to work hard when one can choose to work easily? You've heard of fake it til you make it, right? Or, act as if? Same thing. It's all about pretending. Who needs authenticity when you can pretend all you want? That's what we writers are doing anyway, right?
  • It's also original. I know, who'd have thought? But really, what writer do you know who advocates for finding an inauthentic voice? Or, put another way, what writer out there advocates finding one's authentic voice? Right. Exactly. Only every writer who has an opinion. Do you think Mark Twain, between pulls on his stinky stogie, twirled his wire-brush hair and thought, 'Gee, if I could just get in touch with my authentic voice this damn Huck might actually make something of himself? Methinks not. Now, you may be thinking, "but Twain is authentic." Not so fast. The fact is that the characters and narrators of Twain's novels are authentic, while Mark Twain the author, about whom much is known, still remains largely enigmatic.
My point is that many of us have been sold a bill of goods with all of this authentic voice b.s. We're taking this stuff way too seriously. Perhaps instead of planting our feet firmly in the soil of sincerity we need to step back from the mirror and cloak ourselves in a little more reality.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I also feel that the phrase "authentic voice" is overused, but isn't about finding a character's authentic voice, not yours? Or maybe I'm wrong. But I think it would be good to have a character have a realistic-sounding voice instead of being full of cliches (or whatever else makes inauthentic).