Friday, 22 August 2008

An Author's Voice

  • AJ, you mentioned in an earlier post about finding your own 'voice' as a writer. Just what do you mean by 'voice'?

Hi, Margaret, nice to hear from you. When I talk about an author's voice, I suppose I really mean style. After a while, the way you write will be recognizably 'yours', rather like a painter can be recognized by their painting style. Think about it, you'd never confuse a piece of work by Lowry with one by Constable.
In a similar way, people will know the book is yours by the flow of words, the way you structure your sentences, even by words used. We all tend to have favourite words that are used more often than another writer.
Sometimes, a writer might have more than one 'voice'. This happens when they produce work in a completely different genre - let's say a humour as opposed to a thriller. They automatically adopt a different style. I've done it myself with short stories; I've used a different voice. It wasn't something deliberate. It just happened because of the nature of the story.
When I write about 'finding YOUR voice' I mean settling into a style which you find comfortable. Try to make your work distinctive; don't EVER attempt to emulate another writer no matter how much you might admire them. Be yourself and your voice will start to show.
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