Victor LaValle on Voice (with a Capital V)
A sample of LaValle's no-nonsense advice:
I’m really just trying to say that it’s a mistake to think of Voice (or voice) or writing (and Writing) as a simple question of mechanics. When you read your work you should try to recognize the fact that your Voice is already there. Even just in some early form. Don’t reread and revise with the goal of making this one story better or tighter or publishable (at least not to start). Look at it and ask, Do I recognize myself in here? Again, I don’t mean your literal body or personal history (not necessarily). I mean do you find your sense of humor (or lack thereof)? Your intelligence (your specific kind, not just general IQ)? Your concerns? Your sense of joy and tragedy? These technical issues of dialogue and pacing and phrasing and language are red herrings. They’re actually distractions from the real question at hand: are you making work that is singularly your own? Fiction that, for one reason or another, no one else can produce?
Enjoy the rest of the interview...