Is this an understandable thing or a bad thing?


I had lunch with my girlfriends yesterday and one of them said she tried to read my novel, but she had to keep putting it down because all she could hear was my voice reading it to her.

While I can understand this, it makes me wonder if this is a flaw with my storytelling or if it is only natural to ‘hear’ your friend’s voice when you read something they’ve written, whether it be a letter, a sticky note, an e-mail or a novel.

What do you think? Is it something to be concerned with? I mean, I do want my friends to read my novel, but if they can’t get past ‘my’ voice, how are they going to hear my characters’ voices?

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5 thoughts on “Is this an understandable thing or a bad thing?

  1. When I read a letter that my mum or dad had written I think I hear their voice while reading and I think that is a good thing. It tells me I am connecting with them in the letter. You must speak the way you write or have some similar trait for your friend to think that way. I am not sure that your friend wants to read your book though because I do not understand why hearing you would distract her enough to put the book down. I would love to hear you read this to me. I used to buy book tapes all the time and love having someone read to me. I find it very comforting and I can concentrate on listening while dusting and cleaning or driving to the Mall. Who knows more about how the book should read than the author? Let your friend off the hook though (if
    you value this friend.) Sometimes I pick up a book and it doesn’t grab my attention. It doesn’t mean that it is a bad book, just something I
    don’t want to read. All of us are different and thank the lord for that because maybe we would only like biographies or science fiction…If you were writing a factual book about how ..to find coal in the mines then forget it I would not be interested. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like you as a person, just not your book, D~

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  2. Hi Ruby,

    I think you missed the point somewhat? What Jenny is trying to put across is that her friends cannot read her book without hearing her voice reading it!

    Or maybe I am wrong?

    When an author writes a book they hear themselves reading it… and when they write they read it to themselves as they write… does that make sense? The point that Jenny is trying to put across is that people who KNOW her are associating HER voice with what they are reading and Jenny wants to know if that’s the way that unassociated people will read it too.

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    1. It really is kind of weird. I sometimes hear my friend’s voices when I read their e-mails or their letters, but most of the time it’s my voice I hear. What concerned me was I want my friends to be able to enjoy my book as much as those who don’t know me, but if they can’t read it because they hear me instead of my characters, then it made me wonder if I needed to do something differently.

      After thinking about it, I think it’s just a ‘friend’ thing. Maybe someday she’ll be able to read my novel with the same enthusiasm as the rest of my adoring readers (whom I love dearly for their patience and critiques! Thank you again, for support.) 🙂

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  3. Hey Jenny.
    I don’t know your physical voice (although I’m sure it’s delightful and also so great that your voice is distinctive!) but I understand your concern. If you intend the narrator of your writing (novel, short, note, blog whatever)to be you then that’s perfectly fine. If the narrator or viewpoint is meant to be someone quite different to you then it could be an issue.
    I mostly write in first person (style straightjacket that it is) and have to check carefully with readers that the voice suits the male or female, youthful or ageing narrative voice.
    xx

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  4. Hey Jenny,

    I would say it is nothing at all to worry about.

    Your friends, who obviously know you personally, know the way your voice sounds, know you wrote the book, and of course they are going to hear you reading it… it’s only natural. I get the same thing with friends who read mine!

    People who don’t know you, don’t know your voice, cannot possibly hear you reading to them. How could they?

    Keep up the good work, and stop getting concerned!

    Lynne x

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