I’ve read Kristen’s blog post and read the books, the latest being, “finding your Voice” by Les Edgerton, as well as other books covering the subject of voice.

I have read many books in my lifetime. By authors such as Sidney Sheldon, Georges, Simenon, Harold Robins, Dr. Seuss, J. K. Rowling, John Grisham, James Patterson, Leo Tolstoy, R. L. Stine, Dean Koontz, Steven King, Louis L’Amour, Erle Stanly Gardner, Robert Ludlum, Frederic Dard, Irvine Wallace, Charles Dickens, Arthur Hailey, Michael Crichton, Clive Cussler, Jack Abramoff, John E. Douglas, David Morrell, John Paul Stevens, Tom Clancy, Thomas Friedman, Daniel Silva, Harry Markopolos, Richard Castle, Michael Connelly … the list goes continues.  I think you get the picture.

I just completed two books, one by John Grisham and the second by Robert Ludlum. While reading both books, I was reading and studying Kristen Lamb’s blog posts covering voice, as well as the book, “finding your Voice.” Every time I read either book, I tried to picture the characters with voice, the three dimensional voice authors should give their characters. In the end, characters are one-dimensional. Flat as the paper they’re printed on.

The author can tell you on page twenty that the leading lady was raped by her father when she was ten. By page, one-hundred, unless reminded of this again, and ten days have gone by you probably have forgotten.

The only way a character has a voice in a book is if the reader decides to give the character voice. You have a bad day and decide to speak with forked tongue.

I have read a lot of James Patterson. Just like I have read all of John Gresham, Clive Cussler and Tom Clancy. I have yet to find one character that leaps out of the page at me. They are all the same person to me in voice when I read the books. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s my fault the way I read the book.

I find James Patterson’s books to have the simplest of plots. Easy to follow and they do not twist and turn as much as the others do. Yet this author has sold many more books than the other authors have. A Great author.

The only way a character can be three-dimensional is in a movie or theater. Otherwise, I find them all to be flat as the paper written on.  My wife points out to me that could mean I don’t have a soul. I don’t understand how to feel their pain and the feelings that they have in the book. Maybe she’s right.

If you are stripped of your soul at a young age, then you never learn how to feel others pain.

That may explain why everything to me is one-dimensional when I read books. How does the saying go, “The names were changed to protect the innocent.” That maybe so, but in the end, when I complete the book, I couldn’t tell you one character from another except by name and character the played. If you asked me to tell you something special about their character that made them different from the others, I couldn’t do it. Maybe one’s a cop, and the other is the killer. That does not make them three-dimensional.

A friend of mine pointed out to me that she could read ten pages of a book with 260 words per page average in less than one minute. When she reads that fast, characters do not have much voice. They fly by, and by the end of the book. She knows what she read, but the characters are all one-dimensional. She can tell you the characters names and what jobs they had in the book.

Now that, I have read all this information on voice, and characters and I read this quote from Kristen lambs blog … “I’ve read many a new writer whose characters all sounded like the same person. They hadn’t taken time to understand the characters–all of them–and really think about GCM (Goal, Conflict, Motivation). Thus, either all the characters sounded alike and the dialogue sounded like a bad third-grade play, or the protagonist was the only character with depth (because he was based off the writer) and all the other characters are talking heads or bad knock-offs off the protagonist.”

I have to agree with Kristen, when I finish a book … “they all sound like the same person.”