AH: The writer's voice
Recently I was reading a thread on a writer's group about voice. I'd also just returned from a writer's workshop where voice came up, and as I looked around the room at my fellow students, I had the feeling that some folks were confused.
But "voice" need not be confusing. When we talk about a writer's voice, are we referring to the voice of his characters? Yes. Of his narrator? Yes. The voice inherent in his exposition? Yes.
In short, a writer's "voice" is found in every word in the book. A writer's voice is unique whether he or she is writing a romance, a young adult novel, even a nonfiction book. Why? Because when a writer is confident and operating on his or her best instincts, writer's voice is wholly his or her own.
The writer's voice springs from some place deep inside. If you are true to yourself and don't try to imitate some other writer, you will find your authentic voice.
I was reading Jane Smiley’s 13 Ways of looking at the Novel earlier this year and I liked what she said about voice, though she referred to it as diction:
“Even in a sentence or two, the reader apprehends not only what the author is thinking of, but also how he or she thinks—with hesitations and qualifications, sharply and straightforwardly, conversationally, contemplatively. Each author’s diction is characteristic, and so is his or her sense of rhythm and directness. His or her mental life, at least with regard to that particular subject, is more and more perfectly expressed by the style he or she uses. He is artful; he chooses; he manipulates; he decides; he judges every word and sound pattern and character detail and twist in the action, and yet every one of these things is automatic, given, natural, right. The mind writing is no longer made of parts—the conscious and the subconscious, the voluntary and the involuntary; it is rather one integrated whole, focused and choosing, from all the worlds in the language, the single perfect one. And the closer the author comes to his or her true stylistic self, the more distinct he becomes from every other writer who has ever written and the more precious he becomes to the reader.”
Your writing voice may be hard for you to define because it is everything about you—the words you choose, the metaphors you employ, the rhythm, the cadence, the resonance . . . As Jane said, the more you relax and let yourself be yourself, the stronger your voice will become.
So write on and don't worry about your voice--it'll be there.
Angela Hunt writes from http://alifeinpages.blogspot.com.