As writers, do you know what your voice is?
According to Margaret Maron, creator of Judge Deborah Knott: “Voice is the most important ingredient in a successful book. The plot may be clever, but if the voice doesn’t engage us, how can we care?”
According to John Morgan Wilson who writes the Benjamin Justice mystery series: “There is difference between voice and style though it is difficult to get at. To me voice is closer to attitude and the emotional quality of the prose, reflecting the personality of the author.”
According to Chris Roerden:” The first step in developing your voice is not to add something but to identify the ineffective writing habit and techniques you’ve picked up over the years and get rid of them.”
My Character Development instructor said he knew my voice and I did as well. Funny I thought to myself for my last instructor told me the same thing. This is a trend for people out of my writing groups who concur with these teachers. How come everyone knows what my voice is but me? I have read numerous articles on this topic. But I try hard not to think on this and just write. Apparently I am accomplishing the voice subconsciously.
Jason Pinter , former St. Martin’s Press editor states: “Voice is the conversational quality of your writing, the way you “talk” to your reader. It’s as important in writing as it is in conversing aloud with someone or speaking to a group. If your voice isn’t confident, assured, authoritative, natural, and appropriate for your characters and story, the writing will feel stilted, forced, ragged, weak, awkward. Just as speaking aloud is ineffective if one is halting, hesitant, lacking in confidence, and so on.”
This one makes sense to me since for now I can’t verbally express my definition of the voice. One good way is to read your story aloud. It may sound silly but it is a good way to hear one’s errors, pace and flow. Perhaps a writer will discover their voice.
Will I ever be able to describe this important ingredient to others? I do not know. Hopefully though my voice is being written loud and clear in my writings.