Thursday, September 20, 2007

By the Mark

Peaceland Aground, 1939,
Andrew Wyeth,

The banes and benefits of blogging are frequently discussed.

The time sucks, the content, the communication, the addiction.

All true in varying degrees for varying people, both pro and con.

And that's normal and natural in any phenomenon.

Someone ( my usual source) wondered recently about "voice" in blogging.

If a writer displayed a voice in their published prose different from their blogging voice, would it discomfit and disappoint their readership?

There's really no one answer to that, I suppose.

Some writers speak in tongues anyway - adjusting their style and voice to their topic.

But blogging can affect voice - and not always in a good way.

How many blogs have you come across that sound exactly the same as the ones before them?

General, generic, homogenized.


And if one reads earlier posts one can see the gradual erosion of individuality, the emergence of bland blogger voice.

You can run aground on a lee shore.

Groaner Q& A.
This one's for Gabriele.

Q: How do you catch a unique rabbit?
A: Unique up on it.


Church Lady said...

"General, generic, homogenized."

**Sweating, heart pounding, Rushes over to check on blog. Phewww. Safe. For now. Makes note to self: copy and paste from popular blogs to avoid this outcome. Calms down and returns to reading through the blog roll**


I know I'm addicted. I'm trying hard to avoid the time suck, but it's inevitable.

LOL--the rabbit joke. In Arabic, the phonetic pronounciation of 'neek' means 'fuck.' So your joke, sorry, has another level to me!

Have a great morning!

Bernita said...

I sure that phonetics would add a punning level from just about every language, Chris.

SzélsőFa said...

I recently wrote an entry about the shallowness of blogging, referring to the rush of search for new and new topics, instead of a detalied discussion.
That's one of the reasons I come here again and again. To find deep discussions. Sometimes I understand them thoroughly, sometimes, well, not-so-much.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Szelsofa. I'm glad you enjoy the blog.
The people who post comments here are indeed thoughtful and articulate.

Jaye Wells said...

It's a good question. I think my blog has help hone my voice instead of stifle it. However, I sometimes wonder if I'm honoring that voice enough in my novels or if I've fallen into a more generic novelist voice due to over-instruction through blogs .

Bernita said...

I agree, Jaye, and I believe blogging has also been beneficial to my own.
I'm not sure if the cause is the daily discipline or just the confidence that results from not being laughed off the net.
However,I do think there is an insidious conformity effect that one should watch for.

Robyn said...

I guess I'm able to seperate a blog from a book; I've read fabulous blogs from authors I didn't quite like, and vice-versa.

And if one reads earlier posts one can see the gradual erosion of individuality, the emergence of bland blogger voice.

OUCH! Partly why I stopped for awhile. I'll blog again- it's like crack- but I felt my best posts were definitely behind me.

I've always admired your discipline, Bernita. Daily topics, especially ones as well written as yours, is amazing!

Angie said...

Humm, I hadn't thought about that. [ponder]

When I'm blogging (or commenting) I sound pretty much like myself. Or I think I do. :) But when I'm writing fiction, my "voice" changes depending on the mood and tone of the story, and of the POV character. A reader could read half a dozen of my stories and hear half a dozen different voices, so if they're looking for The One True Angie Voice, they're going to be disappointed anyway. [wry smile]

Which is a whole 'nother question, of course. If we assume that readers prefer to find writers whose styles (voices, whatever) they feel comfortable with and then stick with those writers because they can feel secure that they'll always get more of what they like and want, then that implies that writers who like to experiment and write in different moods and tones and voices and even genres are at a strong disadvantage when it comes to getting and keeping fans. Someone who likes your first story might not like your second one and will go away disappointed, missing all the following stories, while someone who doesn't like your first one but might've liked your second one won't ever know because they've already written you off. That'd suck.

I'll just have to hope that there's some significant number of readers out there who have tastes as broad as mine. [crossed fingers]


Robyn said...

I meant your ability is amazing, or that the topics are amazing...gad, I hate grammar sometimes. And that Blogger doesn't let you edit.

writtenwyrdd said...

As far as generic blog voices go, I am not sure I've really noticed. So whatever is going on, it's obviously not something that snags my attention as I read. Either that or I just don't go to those sites because they are boring.

However I hope this blogger voice isn't happening to me! I think that what I most have to resist is an urge to write in a manner that sounds like I am some kind of definitive authority. LOL, everybody likes to think their own opinion is right!

I enjoy the discussions on your blog, bernita. I just wish I had the knack of getting them going on my own blog, too. (jealousy raises its green-furred head)

Scott from Oregon said...

So far, my blogger voice has outpaced all other voices...

A unique rabbit perhaps?

Bernita said...

Please, Robyn, I hope you do blog again when life isn't so hectic. I loved your blog.
Thank'll notice I've cut back from seven to five though.
Since I make 'em myself, I never pay attention to odd grammar glitches in a post.

Indeed, it is complicated, Anglie.

Possibly the generic voice compats( no, it's not a real word) with generic topics, Written, so you do skip them.

(Maybe you just cover the subject so thouroughly,one just nods!)
And, please, no jealousy. I run away from that.

Bernita said...

No one argues with a hunky guy, Scott...

Kate Thornton said...

Bernita, it's an interesting idea, but so far the blogs I consistently read are all so different, with distinctive voices. (Check your list - you'll find this is true...)

I wish I could update my blog more often than weekly - it's just so time consuming right now. I really admire you for keeping it fresh and interesting every single day.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Kate.
But that's why they are on my list, they have and do maintain original voice and content.
They haven't succumbed to blogger voice.

I'm just glad you blog.

raine said...

Maybe the bland blogger voice is due to a lack of self-confidence in being an individual?
Which would be curious, of course, since the blogs that attract readers are those which are 'different'.
And the pressure to blog on a 'regular' basis, perhaps, like the pressure to write what's 'hot', or in a manner that the writer thinks will appeal to a certain publisher or audience?
I can't maintain a strict, regular schedule of blogging. Try for two or three a week. If I've got nothing worth saying (even if it's silly), and just post for the sake of posting, it certainly does wind up sounding generic.

Don't know how you keep it up, Bernita. And I love the joke. ;-)

Bernita said...

Probably all of those contribute, but I suspect "the pressure to write what's 'hot', or in a manner that the writer thinks will appeal to a certain publisher or audience?" may be a large factor.

Raine, you are never, ever generic.
~wash your mouth out, Girl~
Always, you have an original perception or twist.

Gabriele C. said...


My blogging voice is pretty different from my writing voice because my blog is non fiction. That's why I think it is important for me to have the snippet blog where I post excerpts from my writing.

spyscribbler said...

I don't know if I've gone bland yet, but I sure seem to be able to let all my neuroses hang out, LOL. The factory forgot to install a filter. Blogging seems to help me more than do anything entertaining for anyone else, LOL. Sadly.

I wonder if I should strive to display more of my fiction voice. I don't know.

You, Bernita, could never be accused of turning "general, generic, or homogenized."

Anonymous said...

I speak so differently on my blog than I do in my stories that I'm a bit afraid it might be off-putting to some people.

But then, there's always the hope that readers will find interest in the writer...

I mean, it is a blog about me first, and my work second. Ug, does this mean I'll need to start a book blog?

Bernita said...

We wuvs those bunnies, Gabriele.
Yes, non-fiction is a different kettle of fish, though I suspect my "voices" are merging".

No, Natasha, you have not gone "bland."
Thank you. That would be a sign to quit.

I personally don't see why it would be "off-putting," Seeley, rather an added attraction.

Charles Gramlich said...

I think that's true. I suppose it's almost like an accent. We begin talking/blogging like those we interact with.

Bernita said...

Exactly, Charles. A kind of langue de guerre

Jon M said...

Luvved the picture Bernita. Have to check me blogging voice, think it's me but you never know when pesky body snatchers sneak in (search the greenhouse...)

Bernita said...

Jon, you defy imitation!

J. H. Bográn said...

Although a professional promoting tool, I pretty much think it should reflect the author's voice in a personal level rather than the same one from his/her books.
At least I do it that way in my blog, I speak my mind (to a degree of course) where in my stories I hide behind my characters.
After a second reading of your post I come to think I might have answered the wrong question here...I'll let you be the judge of

The Anti-Wife said...

My blog reflects my life. Somedays it's boring, somedays profound, somedays silly and somedays sad. I certainly hope it never sounds generic.

LadyBronco said...

The 'blogger voice' is why I don't visit too many blogs every day. A lot of them sound the same, and so do nothing to snag my attention in the least.

It would also be why I visit here every day, even if I don't always leave a comment. :0)
(Well, that and the gorgeous!)

Bernita said...

"Voice" is a slippery term, Jose.
Your blog displays a very nice voice, no matter the topic.

A voice that rises out of experience, AW. But you are not crying in a wilderness. We hear you.

Thank you, Lady B.
Keep looking, there are lots of good voices out there.

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