V is for Voice

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge–blogging every day in the month of April (except Sundays!) with each letter of the alphabet.

Writers often talk about finding their ‘voice,’ especially when they’re first starting out. What is a voice? I suppose it means your own unique way of telling stories, the part of yourself that you weave into the narrative. Some authors have distinctive tones and moods they set with their writing, and this is partly what a voice is. Some authors tell a story like you’re sitting around a campfire with them, close and companionable, and some tell stories in a more dry, straightforward way. Readers enjoy different things, so you’re sure to find someone who enjoys your voice, whatever it is.

How do you develop a voice? Mainly through writing–lots of writing–and working through the words to find it. It comes from creating different characters and building worlds for them, watching them interact and driving them with your plots. Voice is developed through writing different kinds of stories and seeing what you enjoy the most, what sticks, and what makes the most sense to you. Testing it out on other people and seeing what they think is valuable too, but you are the most important person when it comes to your voice…after all, you’re the one who has to write in it for the rest of your career.

Voice can come from your own life experiences and how you see the world. It can be derived from your morals and personal beliefs. It can be shaped by the lessons you want to teach through your writing. Your voice is you, what’s in your heart, and when that’s where it comes from it rings the most true.

How about you, are you still developing your voice? What voices of other writers do you enjoy?

27 comments

  1. I agree, it takes time to develop your distinctive writing voice and style. My writing can be a bit pedantic, but I’m working on that. Must be more difficult for fiction writers as each character is different.

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    1. It’s true each character is different, but I think overall the ‘voice’ in fiction is just the way it’s presented by the author. Some authors, you would know it’s their writing even if no one told you who the author was.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dean Koontz comes to mind. 🙂 He’s a personal favourite, but so many people don’t like his writing style. It was probably more distinctive in his earlier novels.

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  2. I was unsure about what a ‘voice’ meant when I just started writing. Not sure I can define it precisely even now. However, the one thing I have figured out is that the only way to discover and develop your voice is by writing. Great post, as usual. 🙂
    *Shantala @ ShanayaTales*

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  3. My challenge seems to be more exploring different aspects of that voice so that my very different characters don’t all sound like a sardonic pessimist with a dark sense of humor.

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  4. My V was voice too! I think I finally know my writing voice and how I can adapt it depending on what I write. I don’t write at all like the voices I admire, Gabriel Garcia Marquez being one. Can’t believe the end of the challenge is almost here!

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  5. This hit home for me… Would have been nice to have read this message about nine years ago, when I started writing. It was not until a few years later, when I read some of my poems on a blog talk radio show, hosted by a friend of mine, that it occurred to me… I write just like I talk. This is not a problem. Truth be told, I am probably a little more obsessed with the sound of my voice than I should be, but in all fairness, how often do you hear a poet reading, who sounds like Jed Clampett?

    Fortunately, I have a friend in Canada, who is there to coach me on that, as needed, which is often. Actually, the first thing she pointed out was, I say “truth be told” way too often.

    Really nice post, Miss Megan. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here. Thanks!

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    1. I think a poet sounding like Jed Clampett sounds pretty cool! 😉 I think finding your voice can take years sometimes, and it evolves over that time, too. And it’s always nice to have a friend to help us out!

      Thanks for stopping by, I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

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  6. Over time, I’ve learnt to cultivate my own voice, and not copy so much what other writers have done. Just being yourself is the most important thing, not writing how you think you’re supposed to write, or forcing a style that’s not yours. Since I write third-person omniscient, I also had to learn the fine art of writing that POV well in the modern era without compromising my unique voice. A lot of my earlier drafts were swimming with that dated, obnoxious God-mode.

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    1. I completely agree! When I started out I was trying to imitate others, but over time I found my own voice–which is very important. Congratulations, on working hard and finding your own voice. I agree, third-person omniscient is a hard one to master, but it can be wonderful if done right!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. I’m not sure what my voice actually is. Mostly when I write, I tend to write as though I’m writing to one particular person. Maybe that’s my voice. I don’t know how to explain it more than that.

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