Defining Voice

Author’s note- This is the official NaBloPoMo prompt from yesterday.

Do you feel you have found your voice on your blog? What techniques have you tried to develop your voice in your writing? What are some characteristics of your personality in your writing?

I. Defining and creating voice is a pain in the ass. With that out of the way, with my writing/blogging voice, I just try to be myself and let my characters flow as they will. I sometimes see prompts to write in the style of a particular author and my initial reaction is always “why?” Sure, it might be helpful to practice Hemingway’s terse style if you (like myself) tend to get too wordy with your prose, but what have you accomplished if you try to force yourself to write in his voice? At best, you just sound like you’re copying Hemingway. At worst, you’re betraying your own voice by pretending to be something you’re not. Write as yourself and you’ll probably find that the true you sounds more like a “real writer” (whatever that is) than you think.

II. One valuable tool for developing your voice is BeKindRewrite’s Voices Week challenge. The idea is to tell the same story five ways in 100 words, and it’s every bit as difficult as it sounds. Voice can be defined as “tone” or “point of view” and this challenge forces the writer to dig deep and really get into the heads of their characters to have them speak and react in a certain way. This year was easier than last for me because I based my stories on a real life health crisis a friend of mine faced, but it was a challenge to get the characters to say what I really wanted them to.

III. I think any author who is honest with his or her readers will admit to putting something of themselves into their creations. The characters I write who emphasize family over self, love to laugh and feel things passionately with their hearts on their sleeves are closest to the person I am when I’m not writing. About the only character trait I posses that I don’t put into my characters is my insecurity. My creations are all infinitely stronger than I am.

2 thoughts on “Defining Voice

  1. I’ve noticed that when I’m reading a book or something, I subconsciously imitate the author’s voice in my own writing. It is fun to experiment sometimes, but I’ve found my voice just sort of made itself known, and develops as I do as a person.

  2. I agree with your first point – why write like someone else when we can be original and write like ourselves? I hate thinking of voice, because invariably when I do, I muck it up by affecting my natural writing. It’s like mid-conversation, throwing in an English accent (I’ve never left the US!)

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