Let's talk about voice.
I’m sharing this as a reminder to myself as well as to help those struggling to find their voice. For me, that word always conjures up images of The Little Mermaid and the Sea Witch.
There's a lot of talk about voice in writing.People want to know exactly what a writing voice is. When I first started writing I worried that I didn’t have a voice. I thought that maybe I was using someone else’s when I wrote.
Truth is, I probably did unintentionally borrow from an author or two. (Guess there is a little Ursula in me after all) I think it's inevitable for most newbies. Borrowing voice is ok, borrowing words? Not so much.
But here’s the thing, my own voice was always there. In my head. Not the one telling me that my writing stinks or trying to convince me that I am not a real writer. No, that voice is the inner critic and a topic for another day. So here's my version of how to find your voice in writing.
Your voice is you, telling the world how you feel about things in the form of a story.
Like when you write a letter to someone.
Dear Grandma, this week sucked. I had the flu and still had to drag myself to school because we had finals this week. I couldn’t even wear makeup because my eyes were all goopy and my nose dripped like a dang faucet. All I want to do sleep. I could sure use some of your homemade chicken soup right about now. At least I have the comfy quilt you made to keep me warm. I'm snuggling under it right now. Love and miss you, Me
I know, nobody writes letters anymore, but the point is, it only takes a few sentences to pick up the mood of this person’s story. You begin to form an image in your head of what this person is like, a feel for who they are. If you are unsure that your voice is coming through in your writing, I recommend writing part of your story as if you were writing a letter to a close friend or someone who knows you well. Read it out loud and listen to the way language reveals a distinct personality. That’s you! That’s your voice. The more you write the stronger your writing voice becomes and soon you will discover that you’ve developed your very own style.
P.S. Write Grandma a letter or at least give her a call.
M. A. Cortez is the author of The Sister Sleuth Series as well as several short stories.
Y.A. Suspense, Supernatural, and Mystery
Holiday Short Story