I was talking with a fellow writer about an author’s Voice. It’s a commonality in the writing world, and everyone tells you to find your Voice.
Let’s talk about that.
“Finding a writing voice can be a struggle, whether you’re writing a novel, short story, flash fiction or a blog post. Some may even wonder, what is voice in writing?” ~Writer’s Digest
An easy voice to distinguish is Master Tolkien himself. Ye gods, that man was wordy. Well, he was an English professor, so what do you expect? Nevertheless, any Tolkien fan would recognize his work because of his lengthy descriptions, his attention to the slightest detail, and the ambiance of good, heavy writing. You kind of have to chew your way through the book, then set it down and let it digest slowly.
Another author I enjoy–on the opposite spectrum–is Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl series. He has a nice, clean way of writing. His expressions are short and to the point, and he encompasses a clever wit to his writing that makes the pace even that much more enjoyable. You won’t see him spend too much time on description. He’ll give you the necessary details, then move you along with action.
So, again, what is Voice?
“The writer’s voice is the individual writing style of an author, a combination of their common usage of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text (or across several works).” ~Wikipedia
The way you write reflects how you speak. Long-winded individuals write lengthy, long-running, and sometimes endless compsitions. Quiet individuals tend to have gentler compositions. Class clowns write hilariously–they can’t help it. They find humor in everything.
If you sit yourself down and reflect on how you generally speak to people, you can safely assume your writing–at least, at first–will reflect that. Sometimes, that isn’t such a good thing.
“There’s more to your writer’s voice than writing the way you talk, especially since you talk differently in different situations. Your voice is actually a reflection of your entire personality, including your speech patterns. And you can have more than one voice and create voices specifically for your characters if you write fiction.” ~Simple Writing
When in writing, you also want to maintain a level of structure. Don’t look at Ray Bradbury… He doesn’t count. There are rules to punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure. You’ve all learned this in school. Editors these days are far more strict when it comes to their craft, as they should be. Writing is a form of preserving the English (or any) language. You can text type however you want, but if you are creating a novel masterpiece, you, too, should take pride in your work.
You can change your Voice, yes. It’s most noticeable in your own writing rules. Everyone has their own rules. Some people like to break the rules–they’re not laws, after all. However, as stated, editors like the rules. Learn about English through reading. Observe sentence structure. Play with the arrangement of words. Make your work long or short. Give it action or description. Sprinkle it with mystery, excitement, or romance. Write what you enjoy, and people will come alongside you.
As you write, you will naturally slip into a Voice comfortable to you. You shouldn’t stress about discovering it, because it’s already inside you. Step back to study your work and see what you find. Change it as you see fit. Keep what you like.
“For [our] ally is [our Voice]. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. It’s energy surrounds us and binds us.” ~Yoda
This has been,
Fanny T. Crispin