What Is a Writer's Voice?

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What Is a Writer's Voice?

Post by BC Williams on Wed 25 Jun 2008, 5:02 am

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The way we express ourself has been shaped by our environment and will dictate our writing voice. It cannot be learned, it has nothing to do with *grammar, or big, flowery vocabulary; our voice is something unique to each of us.

Let's take an object, say a rock, and allow it to write a sentence:
I am old and cold and hard and still.
Let's see what another rock might write:
I am ancient as time, and if you touch my bone-like frigidness, I will not speak and you will leave me alone.

Without being told, readers would know the same rock didn't write both sentences. Each rock has its own writing voice.

The way you choose to describe something is the crux of that voice. All writers have it, but for the most part, our true writing voice is hidden.

It needs to be cultivated.

Using your speaking voice, you can convey different meanings by changing the tone of your voice. There's no guessing what you meant. You were born with a complexity of emotional cues at your disposal to show others what you're trying to convey.
But in writing, tone is set by the words you choose and how you put them together.Good writing will not tell the story. Instead, writing effectively will use words to show meaning much like our speaking voice does. How you word your story is very personal.

The first rock chose simple, straightforward words to describe itself. The second rock, however, chose words in keeping with how it looks at itself, but there is a distinct tone difference that has a formal quality to it. As writers hone their voice, they learn when to word formally, and when not to. The subject, genre, and audience will set this tone for you, but it's still up to you to put you own creative mark on your piece.

Write the way you talk. If you don't speak like this . . . Basic cognitive process dictated that it was Larry, in fact, that pilfered from the milk carton . . . then don't write like this. Novice writers (guilty!) sometimes feel that fancy words mean better writing. They will pull out a thesaurus for every other word, trying to force a tone they many not yet have mastered. Best to stick with what you know. Drawing from your own wealthy bank of how to communicate is what sets you apart it's your writing voice.

Relax, finding one's voice takes time. One day, a reader will tell you how much they identified with your work, and how they lived and breathed every paragraph as if you had written it just for them. Then writer, you will know you've found your voice.

*It is worth noting that a cultivated voice will have mastered the basics of good grammar!

Good Day, bev

References:



The Writer's Voice in the Readers Mind


Fed 23, 2006 by B. Knies

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'Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.' William Wordsworth
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BC Williams
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http://www.bpoetry.net/

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