Thursday, March 10, 2011

Listen and Learn

Recently I started listening to the audiobook version of Playback by Raymond Chandler. My first impression was that the short sentences and choppy writing style would drive me nuts. Then I realized I was getting an excellent lesson in voice. The story is told by Philip Marlow, a hard-boiled private eye, and the short, almost brutal writing style makes his character come alive. I love hearing about Los Angeles in the early 1950s and seeing the other characters through Marlow’s eyes. I find myself listening for turns of phrase that are unique to this particular character. That’s what voice is, the expression of a unique personality.

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