Donna Levin wrote Get That Novel Started, a hardback that’s been in my library longer than I’d like to admit. (Especially considering how many drafts Viral Times has been through, especially its beginning.) But once you start thinking about finishing a novel, you are urged in Levin’s book to consider “How It Looks Once You’re Finished.”

And so she considers voice as part of the challenge:

It’s the spirit of the writing; it’s what makes your work as unique as your DNA. With a compelling enough voice, you can get away with anything.

Levin goes on to quote Muriel Spark’s novel A Far Cry From Kensington. In it, a character working at a publishing firm advises “clever authors of uncertain talent:”

You are writing a letter to a friend. And this is a dear and close friend, real — or better — invented in your mind like a fixation. Write privately, not publicly; without fear or timidity, right to the end of the letter, as if it was never going to be published, so that your true friend will read it over and over, and then want more enchanting letters from you.

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