How To Develop A Distinct Voice In Your Writing
Voice in writing is extremely important and can make or break your story as a whole. It’s imperative that you pay attention to how readers interpret your writing voice because loving the author’s storytelling style can sometimes be just as important as the story itself. Here are some tips to remember and some general rules to follow in order to make sure your writing voice is enjoyable to listen to for your audience.
General Introduction & Some Things To Note
- Voice is an audience’s ability to read something and know you wrote it. It’s essentially your fingerprint on your work.
- The syntax is how an author chooses to order words in a sentence and can play a large role in conveying your voice.
- Voice does not have to be yours alone, but more on that later.
How To Develop Your Voice
Rule 1: Write Naturally
Use voice as a tool, but don’t let it control you. Don’t try to force voice into your writing. Forcing voice can make it sound awkward and push the reader away.
Rule 2: Always Write For Clarity First
Be as clear as possible. Don’t embellish or use fancy words if unnecessary. If writing poetry, however, do the exact opposite.
Rule 3: Don’t Deviate Too Much From The Rules Of Writing
Doing this can alienate your readers. If you break the everyday rules too much and deviate from the technical conventions of writing, your readers may get distracted or lose track of what you’re trying to convey and what’s going on in the story as a whole.
Writing In Somebody Else’s Voice
A lot of authors choose to write stories from the point of view of a character in their story. Authors may also choose to write in a format that requires their voice to be that of someone who may be completely different than them. Being able to recognize small details that form a voice in your readers’ heads is very important, whether you’re telling them the story as yourself or through the eyes of another. Here are some tips on developing a voice that matches the point of view you are telling the story from:
Word Choice ~ Use words and phrases that are true to the character’s personality. If your character is a 21st-century teenager talking about some guy they’re “totally obsessed” with and want to “Netflix and Chill” with, then they probably won’t describe him as a “harrowing barbarian with golden flowing locks and a stone cold thirst for vengeance”.
Observation ~ Be careful when describing what your narrator observes throughout the story. If your narrator is supposed to be somewhat oblivious or gullible, they won’t notice the incredibly subtle mannerisms in everyone around them in order to conveniently draw conclusions and convey every piece of information the reader needs to predict the ending of the story.
Focus ~ Be mindful of what your narrator focuses on when describing a situation or the people around them. If your narrator chooses to point out that a character they don’t like happens to have the latest Rolex, this will hint at the reader that the character has a distaste for those with lots of wealth and therefore is somewhat of the opposite of the person they dislike. The things a person focuses on can tell you a lot about who they are and what they think of the world, and that is a massive deal when it comes to voice.
Descriptions ~ How your character describes the situations and minute details is important. Whether they say “shuddered” instead of “shook” or “steamed” instead of “angry” plays a large part in the reader getting to know your narrator.