When someone says a writer has great voice, they aren’t talking about the sound coming out of their mouth. Whaaaat?
But that’s what a voice is, I hear you say. Well, in writer terms, voice is your unique writing style. You could pick up a book by the same author and know it’s theirs without ever seeing the cover. When I was beginning, it took me a while to understand this, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so far.
How does your voice differ from another writer?
Mary Janice Davidson is a romance writer who is light on the plot, heavy on the sass and fast paced.
The last book I read by literary author, Isabelle Allende is told in omniscient POV so in some ways is more distant because you don’t get deep inside the characters minds, but has more overall character reveals …
Shakespeare is .. nah, just kidding. We all know what Shakespeare sounds like. Do I really need to remind you?
Why is Voice important to a self-publisher?
Because you’re swimming against the stream. By this, I mean that you are competing with all the traditionally published authors. You need to make sure your writing isn’t part of the collective noise. I see this as an opportunity. A traditional publisher will want you to fit within a certain box, maybe just a little out of it. But being self-published, you can take whatever risks you want. If you want to be that person who wrote a sexy fan fiction of twilight, you go right ahead. (But seriously, that was EL James before she turned her self-pubbed title into 50 Shades).
How to create your unique voice?
- Try being as natural as you can when you write.
- Dictate your story as though you were speaking to someone then listen to your voice recording for tips.
- Write lots. You may not truly find your voice until you’ve written a few books. And that’s okay, just keep at it.
- Read lots. This is very important in understanding the different styles of voice.
- Try using different POVs. Third person may feel more natural to you than first or vice versa.
- Think about language choice. Do you want to use huge words? Do you want formal, or conversational?
- Try this exercise: write your story as though it were part of a letter to a long lost friend. All those little bits of personality you add are devices that help carve out your unique identity.
Do you have any tips? Share them with me.