Developing Your Writer’s ‘voice’

Writing VoiceFind your authentic voice is simply a matter of finding a writing style that flows naturally for you and develops from regular writing.

It involves your use of vocabulary, use of grammar, and the way you construct sentences and dialog.

Learn the grammar rules, then break them creatively until it all ‘clicks’. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles, points of view, types of story, genre, writing tenses, characters etc. In fact, the more you experiment the better. Realising you have a voice to your writing is a real confidence booster – it is a style unique to you.

If you want to develop a particular style of voice, then find writing in that style and analyse what makes that voice different from your own (word choice, vocabulary, sentence construction, and grammar). Draw up a set of rules that you can apply when editing your writing that will help produce the style you want.

Applying your voice or style happens largely at the editing stage of writing, so second or third edit after you complete your first draft.

Whilst it is true that practice helps to refine what you produce in your first draft, you will always need to edit to achieve the style/voice you want.

That’s the theory; now to the practical stuff. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Write, write, write, edit, edit, edit, applying all the grammar rules rigorously (White & Strunk’s little book, Elements of Style might help with this).
  2. Write, write, write, edit, edit, edit, applying sentence structure and grammar artistically (Noah Lukeman’s little book, A Dash of Style might help with this).
  3. Experiment, experiment, experiment (repeat as often as necessary).
  4. Start writing a novel/novella length piece of writing. Somewhere between chapters 5 & 15 you will hopefully realise you have found your voice.
  5. Modify as necessary

There is, unfortunately, no short cut to this process. Some will find their ‘voice’ quickly, some will take a long time to find it, some will change their ‘voice’ as they change character or genre. There are no hard and fast rules.

The best way to really get a handle this and develop your own ‘voice’ is to post chapters to an online writing forum, like Wattpad, and then provide constructive feedback on other peoples stories. It sounds counter-intuitive, but you will discover far more about your own writing preferences and style by feeding back on someone else’s work.

Hope this helps,

Nick

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