Monday, April 14, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about voice, and the differences in voice in characters. I've had this problem consistently with my characters that they all sound the same. I've been seriously writing plays for four years now, and one would think that I would have the whole voice thing sorted out. I don't think it's that big of a problem for some plays as it is for others. But a play I was reading at the doctor's office today made me think more about it.

August: Osage County by Tracy Letts won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for 2008, and that's pretty awesome. I have a copy of Bug somewhere that I bought to read and promptly misplaced (as it is with SO many things I buy--I need to stop being such a clutterbug!) and I kept hearing great things about August: Osage County so when Bill and I were in Little Rock on Sunday, I bought a copy of it. The next day he won the Pulitzer for it. I've been carrying it in my bag since Sunday and while I was waiting at the doctor office, I read it. I'm about halfway through.

I'm so absorbed by this play! It's just absolutely beautiful, and I get it so hard, it hurts, you know? Like the emotional component to the play is suffocating with family issues and the past and the present and the future crashing all down on these people. MAN. I love this play so far.

But this post is not about me gushing my love for this play. This post is about voice. The characters in this play, they are all very distinctive on paper. Especially Violet. I love the way Letts writes the dialogue, like he's coping it verbatim from his head. DUH. Of course that's what you do. Letts has a wonderful sense of voice for his characters. They all have very distinctive voices, and I would do well to learn now to capture the essense of the character in his or her voice that makes him or her unique to everyone else in the play. Sometimes characters sound alike. But even when the characters I'm dealing with come from the same ilk, they need to have voice things that make them different. I still have to learn to do this.

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