Voices in my Head


“Whose voice do you hear in your head when you read?”

My husband looked up from the book he was reading to ask me the question.

“It depends on what I’m reading,” I replied. “If it’s the newspaper, I hear my voice. Or sometimes I guess I hear Charlie Gibson or Robin Roberts. If I’m reading a book, I usually hear a different voice for each character.”

“Oh…so you hear multiple voices in your head.” He laughed. “Why am I not surprised?”


Well…doesn’t everyone? Not only do I have the voices, I’ve got the full visual of where they are, the weather, the home, the terrain…even when the author doesn’t give me all those details. My brain fills it in and creates these vibrant scenes.

I distinctly remember reading Savvy and giving Mibs the voice of Cherry Jones. I’ve only heard her before on the audio book version of Because of Winn Dixie. But her lovely drawl seemed perfect for Mibs.

It’s not often that a character in a book brings to mind a well known person or place. Usually I create my own voices, my own visuals. I guess that’s why most movies based on books are sorely lacking for me. Hollywood can’t match my settings or my special effects. Or my voices.

And it’s not just when I read. I’ve got multiple voices going when I write, as well. I mean, if they were all my voice, wouldn’t that be kind of boring? (Not to mention WEIRD since I write middle grade!)

What about you? Do you hear characters voices when you read and/or write? Or should I be telling this to my therapist?

16 thoughts on “Voices in my Head

  1. I’ve never thought of this, Sherrie. I must not think of the characters’ voices in my head…It sounds like a much more interesting way to read though!!
    Though I love to use different voices when I read to my kids!

  2. Hear the voices, live the story, see everything. Yep. Both the books I read and write play out as movies in my head. And I tend to pick a character to be – which means I prefer to have one POV in a book.

    There was a TV program recently that talked about how hard it is to bring a comic strip to ‘life’ as people alerady have an internal concept of the voices of the characters. And they will invariably say ‘that’s not what he sounds like’.

    Love the little saying!

  3. I do! And then when I go see a movie based on a book, I often come out saying “they didn’t get that character quite right,” simply because I envisioned the character differently. And like you, I fill in all the other details as well

  4. No therapist needed! I hear voices, too. I’ve thought of this before, but thank you for doing a post on it! It’s something really good to think about and ponder because I think knowing the answer might help me write my own “voice” better, too.

  5. I never really thought about it before. But as I read your post the voice I heard wasn’t mine. I guess it’s what I imagine yours sounds like. Which is probably nothing like how you sound.

    Hmm. I’m going to ponder all of this and pay more attention as I read.

  6. Kelly – Once you start thinking of it, it’ll be hard to stop!

    Sarah – Yay! You too! That’s interesting with the comic strip, too.

    Rebecca – Great minds think (and hear!) alike :^)

    Glam – Good point! I know I can “hear” the difference between my voice and my characters’ voices.

    Kelly H-Y – Glad I don’t need the therapist. I really couldn’t afford it right now!

    Suzanne – Now I’m wondering what you think my voice sounds like! I know I have different voices in my head for each blogger I know. As I meet people, it’ll be interesting to see if the voices match!

  7. Aren’t we all each other’s shrinks?

    I mean. I thought we were. I thought it was okay to confess, in my blog world and in yours, that yes, we hear voices in our heads.

    🙂

  8. Ooh, this is so interesting. I typically don't hear voices as much as I visualize the scene unfolding. I always have a picture of everything in my mind, but I've never really “heard” it in my head. At least not that I've noticed.

  9. Ooh, this is so interesting. I typically don't hear voices as much as I visualize the scene unfolding. I always have a picture of everything in my mind, but I've never really “heard” it in my head. At least not that I've noticed.

  10. Beth – Yes! Yes we are! That's part of the beauty of the blogging community!

    Rena – Often for the news I just hear myself.

    Lisa & Laura – Listen closely. The voices want to be heard 🙂

  11. What a great post, Sherrie! I can hear your voice now! I wouldn't have noticed I was hearing it if you hadn't written this, though!
    Never do the movie-makers get it right, Except, for me, the Tolkien movies were astounding in this way. The voices, the cast & costumes, almost everything seemed to match my inner movie from reading the book. It was a little weird, honestly.

  12. John – For me the first Narnia movie that Walden and Disney made came incredibly close to my vision of the book. And I love that my voice is echoing around in your brain 😉

  13. I absolutely hear the voices in my head sometimes, when I'm reading. I would go so far as to say that it's a sign that the author is doing something right, when the voice just pops up like that.

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