Hearing Voices

Love's DestinyBy Elizabeth Meyette, author of Love’s Destiny

Authors have a dirty little secrets…we hear voices. All of the time. Our characters whisper, cajole, encourage, and inspire us as we write. I recently posted on my Facebook page that friends shouldn’t be offended if they see me out walking and wave as they drive by and don’t get a return wave from me…I am probably writing.

Now, if they see me talking to invisible people it might be more difficult to explain.

Because I am a singer, I not only hear my characters’ voices, I hear their range, timbre, pitch, and melody. That said, my description of voices is hardly scientific; rather it defines the character including personality.

Emily Wentworth is the heroine of Love’s Destiny, and while many times in musical theatre and opera, the heroine is a first soprano, Emily is a mezzo-soprano, perhaps a first alto. She has a deeper, richer tone than the high clear voice of a soprano, so she would sound more like Beyonce, Bonnie Raitt or Renee Fleming. A kind of velvet, smooth, golden tone. Not a woman to be trifled with, Emily is determined and passionate; her voice rises with indignation at injustice and falls, soft and silken as she whispers her love to Jonathon.

My hero, Jonathon Brentwood, is a baritone like Michael Bublé, Nat King Cole or Bryn Terfel. While deep in tone, Jonathon’s voice is also gentle and soothing, often touched with humor and understanding. Forceful and commanding while striding the deck of his ship, it is colored with warmth and desire when Emily is in his arms.

Now Deidre is a contralto like Lady Gaga, Cher or Marian Anderson. Her deepest darkest secrets are revealed in a husky, opaque voice. Her attempts at seduction pour over her intended victims like sultry honey.

Emily’s brother, Andrew, whose adolescent voice is changing during Love’s Destiny, transitions to a tenor in Love’s Spirit as he progresses into adulthood and begins his quest to become a lover worthy of his beloved. He sounds like Josh Groban or Andrea Bocelli, although perhaps more reticent as he tentatively wades into the sea of love.

So what do your favorite fictional characters sound like? Are their voices melodic and sweet? Are they sonorous and commanding? Do they whine and whimper or do they command respect and honor? Does integrity flow out on the cadence of their speech? Does passion enkindle the timbre warming to flames of desire?

One thing is certain: In Love’s Destiny, Emily and Jonathon make beautiful music together. So, as Shakespeare said, “If music be the food of love, play on.”

16 thoughts on “Hearing Voices

  1. Tara Mills

    I love this topic. Voices can really help to enhance the picture we create of a character. I remember reading one romance where there was a politician popularly known as ‘the voice’ because of his soothing tone and the powerful resonance of both his message and timbre. Now, doesn’t that just create a wonderful description of this character?

    It’s subtle cues like these, woven through our stories that make characters come to life for a reader – and yes, for the writer as well. Enjoyable post.

  2. Betty

    Whoa, Micah, now you’re talking! Alleluia, alleluia!! Well, in Love’s Destiny, sometimes there is harmony, and sometimes there is not. But, of course, it ends on a sweet note <3

    1. Micah Persell

      And by “demension” I of course meant “dimension.” Sheesh, I need a copy editor for everyday life!
      I love how many musicians we have amongst us Crimson ladies. If you sing, Moriah Densley and I will play our violins as accompaniment! Any other musicians out there we don’t know about?

  3. Pam B Morris

    This is such an awesome post, Betty. Singing is such a huge part of our spirit, makes total sense it would be part of the characters. Thanks for putting this in words. I’ll be keeping vocal tone and pitch in mind from now on!! What fun!

  4. M.J. Schiller

    Does karaoke count?
    I like my heroes to have a deep, gravelly, sexy voice, for the most part. My heroines often have a velvety, sultry musical voice. Music does play heavily into almost everything I write, in one way or another. Thanks for your insights, Betty!