As writers we hear a lot about Voice. And when we're first starting out, we angst about our authorial voice. How can I find my voice? Will I know it when I see it? It's one of those nebulous things like pace or brand that scares the daylights out of a new author because we're told we need to master it and be able to identify it, but it eludes us. There's no checklist for voice. No steps to take to master it.
So what is a writer to do?
The simple answer? Write.
That's it. Just write.
You can't help but find your voice when you write. You have a unique story to tell in your own way. Voice is comprised of vocabulary, reading influences, genre you're writing in, syntax, emotion, lots of things you can't quantify but that melded together make your voice yours alone.
I didn't realize I had a writing voice until about my fifth novel. (all unpublished so far) I think before that, I was writing to emulate authors I admired. I was doing a novel in a paint-by-number style. Even after my fifth novel, I didn't realize I had an author voice until my critique partner, Georgiana, pointed it out to me. I had entered a blind-judged writing contest on a blog where she happened to be a judge. (She didn't know I'd entered the contest, and I didn't know she was a judge.) And when she got to my entry she knew it was my writing. Even though the story was a humorous personal experience story and not anything like the historical romances I write, she could pick out right away that the article sounded like me.
Since then, I've sent a couple of my early works to Georgiana and she's sent them back saying, "This doesn't sound like you. Not the you I've come to know."
Because I'll be resurrecting two of my early works, I've decided I can't just polish them up. I'm going to need to rewrite them from scratch, because they need to be written in my voice. My new, emerging, getting stronger the more I use it voice.
So, have you found your voice yet? What are you doing to develop it? Are you writing? Are you reading good fiction, in your genre and out of it? Has anyone ever told you they recognize your writing voice?
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