Friday, Apr 23, 2010

Finding Your Voice

Voice is something unique to you. No other writer has your voice, and finding it is a unique experience as well. 

So, how do you find your voice? Here are some suggestions you may deem helpful: 

1) Think about your background. What cultural, religious, and political influences shaped it? Did you grow up in a home where a foreign language was spoken or where certain idiomatic expressions were used? What about your neighborhood? Did you live in a city environment with a cosmpolitan atmosphere, or did you live on a farm, far away from neighbors? 

2) What are you passionate about? What values drive you? What causes move you? What issues make you angry? If your best friend were asked to define your passion, what would she say it is? 

3) What have others said stands out most about your writing? Is it the tone of your work, your characterization, your setting? In other words, to what do readers respond most when they read your writing? 

Voice is something you may not initially recognize in your writing. It may come as a surprise, much like hearing your taped voice surprises you. Most of us have had the experience of hearing our recorded voice only to say, “That doesn’t sound like me at all!” Why not? Because we hear our own physical voice with our inner ear. Likewise, we will hear our writer’s voice with our writer’s ear as we discover our voice through the writing process.

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8 thoughts on “Finding Your Voice

  1. This is a great post, MaryAnn. Voice is the hardest thing to develop in our writing. It’s hard not to emulate others when we’re first learning.

    When I first got the idea for my fantasy novel, I sent the first couple of pages to my writing partner, Joyce Magnin. She called me and said, wow, you just found your voice!

    Voice is not only your word choices and sentence arrangement. It’s also part of the writing process. When what you write flows smoothly – when you read what you wrote and it feels natural and flows – when someone can see something and say, that sounds like you – then you’ve found your voice. It doesn’t mean you’ll be unique, like Max Lucado, but it will be YOUR OWN.

    April 23, 2010 at 7:52 AM

    • Thanks so much for your great insights on voice, Pam. How exciting that you’ve found your voice! May it touch countless lives for Jesus!

      April 23, 2010 at 8:27 AM

  2. Thank you for this info, MaryAnn. I’ve had people tell me that my writing sounds like me. I am thinking that’s a good thing:)
    Have a blessed weekend,

    April 23, 2010 at 8:14 PM

  3. Hi Mary Ann –

    A friend did a post on writing what you know. From what I can see, your writing voice is connected to who you are as a person and all its nuances.

    Thanks for getting me to think. 🙂



    April 26, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    • Yes, exactly, Susan. Your voice emerges from your life experiences and from who God created you to be. Good thinking on your part! 🙂

      April 26, 2010 at 6:44 PM

  4. This is a really helpful post. I’ve been obsessing about voice lately, and it’s interesting how I seem to notice more posts on this topic as a result. There was a post on May 10 at agent Nathan Bransford’s blog about voice too. He had some similar ideas to yours, but you definitely had more to add to help me too. Glad to I took the time to look back over some of your posts (and can I have permission to link to this post?)

    May 14, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    • Thank you for your comments, Margo, and welcome to my blog! I am delighted that you stopped by. Yes, you may have permission to link to this post. 🙂 BTW, what a beautiful child you have, as I can see from your photo. 🙂

      May 14, 2010 at 2:31 PM