Your Writing Voice

I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and blog posts on voice. As in, how to find yours, develop your own recognizable style. Most of these posts talk about writing lots and lots as the most sure-fire method to finding your voice. So true!

Writing Tip for Today: Here are some other considerations:
  • Follow the Rules, but Don’t Let Them Drown You. When writers attempt to master skills, their unique voices are often beaten out of them. By paying such careful attention to rules, you risk sounding just like everyone else. Some rules, such as the ones in Strunk & White’s Elements of Style, deserve our attention. Others, like not ever using sentence fragments might be broken for a good reason.
  • No Smoking Materials. Your unique voice loses impact the more you use generic or abstract terms. While you might be sensitive about saying “cigarette” twice in the same sentence, a reader will be more apt to follow a character who gets MORE specific (say, using a brand name or “smoke” in place of cigarette) than one who uses stilted or impersonal terms. “He lit his smoking materials and leaned back in his seating apparatus.” Sounds terrible! Not that any of you smoke these days, but you get the idea.
  • Know Your Reader. I once had a fabulous writer tell me that for every book he writes, he makes a mental panel of 12 jurists–people he’d like more than any others to read and enjoy his work. He constantly refers to this panel, weighing his writing against these judges. If you are very certain of your audience, you know what your readers love, what turns them off, what makes them beg for more. If you are passionate about your writing, this will lead to your voice.

Next: More Tips on Developing Your Writer’s Voice.

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

4 comments on “Your Writing Voice

  1. I learned in college that if I could find out what kinds of stuff my professor loved to hear, I could always get an A on a paper. Every professor was different, but this strategy never failed.

    Writing fiction is the same way. Pick your target audience, find out what they like to hear, and you’ll always get readers.

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