Thursday, June 22, 2006

Writing Voice

What is writing voice?

It's the voice you use as a writer that determines the tone of an article, story, or poem, etc.

For example, a few years ago when I attended a local writer's group, I was in awe of one elderly lady who used to be a headmistress. She has such a refined voice and had won several writing competitions. I really admired her work.

One week, when I read out my story to the class, the tutor stopped me and asked me why I had written my story in that way. It did not sound like me at all. Of course, she was perfectly correct, I had tried to sound like the elderly lady.

My tutor said: "Lynette, you have such a natural sounding voice, stick to it!"

She was right and I never tried to mimic another author's voice since. That's not say that over the years I haven't been influenced by other writers. The authors I have been most influenced by have been people like: Jackie Collins, Virginia Andrews and Edna O'Brien.

Whilst I have not made any effort to copy them, I have learned a lot about pacing, characterisation and writing in first person/third person, etc.

In WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL, Donald Maass says about voice:

"You can facilitate voice by giving yourself the freedom to say things in your own unique way. You do not talk exactly like anyone else, right? Why should you write like everyone else?"

Maass is spot on there.

We are all influenced to some degree by our backgrounds: cultural differences, schooling, socially, etc. So someone born to the royal family is not going to sound like someone say from the East end of London, even though they are not a million miles away in distance, they are a world away in culture.

Be true to your own author's voice, write how you think and don't force your voice to sound like anyone else's.

You are a unique writer with a unique voice!

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