So, I've been thinking lately.
Scary, I know.
Although I haven't had the the opportunity to write in FOREVA, I have been listening to audiobooks while I go about doing all the stuff that life's been asking of me. This is how I keep up with my reading.
I'm a huge fan of series, but I get frustrated when there's only 2 or 3 books so far. As such, I tend to wait to start a series until there's at least 4 or 5 books, sometimes more. I just finished all 7 of Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series (wow, Darkfever makes so much more sense to me now) and have finished book 5 of Lynsay Sands' Argeneau Vampire series.
When I listen or read a series all in a row, I can really get into the author's Voice. BUT, and this is a big BUT for me, any repetitive phrasing becomes extremely obvious. I find it exceptionally annoying, actually, to have different characters described in the same manner from book to book. To the point that the words seem to reverberate in my head and I actually cringe or huff.
My favorite examples to use when explaining this peeve of mine are Christine Feehan's "black velvet voice", which is used to describe every male Carpathian character (with the exception of her latest, and I was quite surprised), and Lora Leigh's spasming wombs. In fact, I'm so sensitive to wombs clenching and spasming that any use of those words (together or even separately now) in other author's books makes me halt, blink a few times, and then try to carry on.
Which brings me back to my main point here. I've been pondering the difference between having "Voice" and simply writing the same phrases over and over.
Voice is one of those elusive things that's infinitely difficult to define. In my own humble opinion, it's how a writer pulls together the entire package: dialogue/syntax, internal dialogue, flow, description, etc. Let's face it - there isn't a generalized plotline out there that hasn't already been done. Voice is a big part of what makes or breaks a story to a reader.
I may not be the best at picking out a specific author just by reading a couple of pages, but I do know what I like or what doesn't turn my crank. I don't like Fern Michaels, for example. Her style makes me grit my teeth while reading, and I gave up trying a long time ago to like it. She's a best-selling author, so it's obviously just my taste, but I digress.
Call me temperamental (which I totally am) but it annoys the crap out of me to read/hear the same words over and over. Wait... am I repeating myself now? ;)
Admittedly, there are only so many ways to describe an orgasm. In a book I'm listening to right now, the author uses the term "coming apart in his arms", which is a nice way of putting it. It shows the author has a bit more creativity than the standard "she exploded" or "shattered", etc. To me, that's a hint at the author's Voice.
Still, I'm pretty sure it's not necessary to use that exact phrase 3 times within 25 pages.
Dude, that's just repetition.
So, for all you writers out there, be aware of getting in a rut and using the same descriptors. Expand your thinking and vocabulary, get creative and develop your Voice!