Today, we’re going to look at the author’s voice and why it is important to our stories. Next week we will be looking at passive and active voice, which I’ve touched on in a previous post. Let’s just dive into the meat of today’s post though.
Your author’s voice is the thing that sets you apart from other writers. You can have the exact same style of writing as another author, but how you convey your thoughts or ideas is how you give yourself a voice. Your voice is infused into your way of looking at the world and the words you choose.
For example, I like to plot out imaginary situations in my head that usually take place in some sort of story narrative. I do transfer some of those situations and conversations over into my writing style – especially on this blog. It’ll usually look close to something like this:
“But Danielle that sounds a lot like …” or “‘Oh hey Lovelies’, she says sheepishly.”
I don’t always include the full imaginary conversation that I have with you guys, but I do use these types of phrases and styles of writing to add humor (hopefully) and to make my content stand out from other writers.
Cristain Mihai is a good contrast to me as a writer. We both have chatty, friendly writing styles, but his blog posts are more energetic than my own. This energy draws you into his posts and his message, which makes them fun to read. Plus his energy leaves you feeling motivated and ready to pursue your dreams of being a writer.
Another contrast to my writing comes from the Non-Alcoholic Student (NAS). We’re both chatty and friendly in our styles of writing, but NAS draws you in with a relaxed vibe which makes you feel welcomed and at home. Plus NAS has a very dry sense of humour that can easily be overlooked if you’re not paying attention.
I feel as if I lie somewhere between these two writers. I can have the urgency that Cristain has when I’m passionate about a subject or trying to get a point across, but I also strive to craft a post that is easy to follow and welcoming like NAS. There are a lot of writers out there that are similar in styles and that are completely different in how they present themselves. All of this has to do with their voice which comes across to us readers with their views and interactions with the world and how they convey their reality to others.
Now, how do we find our author’s voice? First off, and in my opinion, most importantly, you need to give yourself permission to be yourself in your writing, which can be easier said than done depending on what you’re writing. I know I personally have had issues with trying to conform to academic language standards in the first two years of my university degree. I was always getting dinged for being too wordy, which happened when I tried to sound smarter than I was and in trying to keep within the requirements needed to fit the academic voice. It wasn’t until I let my personality back into my essays that I fixed this issue. It’s okay to sound like yourself and to realize that your voice is going to change depending on genre.
I know I definitely do not sound anything like I do on my blog than I do at my job. Case in point, here’s an excerpt from a profile I’ve written for a mining company:
New Point Exploration Corp. (CSE:NP) is an exploration company engaged in acquiring, exploring and developing mineral properties focused on supplying the growing battery industry. To that effect, New Point has been building a portfolio of high-grade lithium, cobalt and copper properties in mining-friendly jurisdictions in North America.
New Point has two projects in Nevada, United States. The Majuba Hill copper project is a past producing property which has historically produced 2.8 million pounds of copper, 184,000 ounces of silver, 885,800 pounds of lead, 106,000 pounds of zinc, 21,000 pounds of tin and 5,800 ounces of gold between 1907 and 1960.
There’s traces of my voice in there, but it is definitely not as chatty and friendly as I am when I’m writing for my blog. I’ve had to modify my voice to suit the writing conventions that governs the news industry.
Here are some other ways that you can develop your author’s voice:
- Read. Reading a couple to several books written by the same author will show you what their voice is. The characters and the subjects might change, but how they convey their story will help give you clues as to who they are as a human and as a writer.
- Free write and don’t edit as you go. Just getting the words out and onto the page is going to work wonders for your voice. It’s going to be what you really wanted to say instead of it being pieced together and feeling disjointed. I usually do this when I write for this blog and for my stories. When we are trying to make things perfect or to craft a voice we don’t usually use, we tend to actually take out the very thing that we’re trying to achieve. Having those imperfections (such as having a BIT of bad grammar isn’t horrible – or so I’m told) and the unique terms or phrases you generally use all help make up your voice.
- Be self-aware. Get to know the things that make you, well, you. This is going to take some time and probably a lot of editing and self-awareness on your part, but it’ll make you a stronger writer.
- Read aloud. Things always sound different in your head. By putting the words you’ve written onto a page into the world in a verbal sense will sound vastly different and give you a sense on how you structure your words and your pacing.
Honestly, there isn’t a set of instructions that will tell you how to develop your own voice. You’re going to have to pay attention and be aware of what you write and how you write it. Also, don’t be afraid of exploring and experimenting with your voice and your writing. It could help you develop your voice!
That’s all that I have for you this week! As I mentioned before, next week we will be talking about active and passive voice. I hope everyone one has a fantastic weekend!
Until next week!