A to Z Challenge 2013

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Voice In Writing

Sherrinda over at A Writer Wannabe has an interesting post about voice. Her thoughts (and forgive me Sherrinda if I describe the intent of your post wrong) revolve around finding our voice as authors. As I was putting a comment, I realized I have a slightly different perspective on the subject and I'd like to share it with everyone.

Voice can be described as the way the story is told, or the stylings of the particular author that comes through in their writing. I've heard it said many times that we need to find our voice, but I disagree. Distinctive voice in writing is something everyone has, even if they are barely capable of stringing together a complete sentence. If their writing is disjointed and ugly, they still have a writer's voice. It may not be pleasant to read through or even intelligible, but it's there waiting to burst forth. Voice is as much an expression of our personality as it is our experiences - and so much more.

Since everyone has it, there really isn't a need to find it. As we grow and improve our writing, our voice has the chance to shine. We break down the walls that keep us from writing well, and with each brick removed, the voice is allowed to be heard more clearly. For example, when we learn to stop obsessing over the perfect word, a brick is removed. When we are able to sit and write for hours on end, a brick is removed. When we use our red pen like a sword, cutting a swath of edits through our own manuscript, a brick is removed. All that remains is the story, told in our voice, unhindered and unencumbered by all those bricks. So while it's splitting hairs, the focus shouldn't be on finding our voice. Instead we should concentrate on improving our writing, getting past our own bad habits and issues, and the voice will come through naturally like a beacon.

Have you removed all your personal bricks? Do you hear your voice in your writing? What barriers do you still need to get rid of in order to free it?


B.J. Anderson said...

Great topic! I feel like my voice is there, and I've had others mention it, too. I still have to do a bazillion edits though. :D

Lori A. May said...

Great post! Developing an authentic voice takes time, that’s for sure. When I read some of my earliest works I can sense the beginnings of my current voice, but you can definitely see an evolution over the years. You made some great points. Thanks!

Lost Wanderer said...

I agree with your post, and the ultimate conclusion that focus should be on improving writing, however, I would still inevitably think about "finding" my voice. Everyone has a voice, but many new writers - like myself - have a confusing voice. Sometimes it is clear, sometimes it stands out, but at other times it hides behind generic writing.

Breeze said...

This is great. So it's just like singing...I mean I have a voice, it's just really bad and unpleasant, I could improve it though with training but I dont' have any natural talent.

Same as with writing, I have a voice, I just need to hone my craft a little and grow more and more...that is all about practice!

That's simplistic of course but yeah, I like this


Icy Roses said...

Nice post. Voice is such a vague and illusive thing. It's hard to talk about. Or think about "finding." And I agree that working on good writing is the way to perfect a voice.

Interesting, interesting.

Robyn said...

Eric, great post on voice. I agree with you about removing the bricks. I've done that. With mine it was hard to delete sentences, paragraphs, and sometimes entire chapters. But I did it. And the story is so much better now. :)

Roderckdhu said...

I'd tend to agree, I think every writer has a voice, it is just a question of removing those bricks and getting out of our own way. Good post.