To read part one, click here.
Today we will discuss the less tangible aspect of a writer’s voice – what makes your writing distinct from other writers. This is a far more difficult task than yesterday’s technical discussion. Describing the uniqueness of voice is much like describing a work of fine art by using numbers and measurements.
There are many aspects of what makes a voice unique, here are a few:
- Vocabulary usage – Do you lean towards complicated words or simple?
- Sentence length – Do you prefer shorter sentences, long meandering sentences, or a mix or both?
- Trademark characters – Do your main characters share similar traits?
- Recurring themes – Do you tend to stick to the same subject or emphasis?
- Use of humor – Do you prefer using it or avoiding it?
- Use of sarcasm – Same as humor, do you use it?
- Scene setting – Do you spend time describing the scene in detail? Are there things that your narrator notices more, like water features and cleanliness?
- Backstory – Do you include long passages of backstory or do you give clues so the reader can put the pieces together?
- Story pacing – Do you prefer a fast-paced, action-packed thriller or a thoughtful introspective story?
There are dozens more elements that can be considered and no writer will answer in the same way. That is what makes our writing unique.
I’m sure there are specific writing exercises engineered to develop voice. The recurring bit of advice for discovering and developing voice is to write, write, and write some more. The more material you create the more obvious your personal style will become.
The most effective way to see how your voice has grown and developed is to pick up something you’ve written a few months ago. You will immediately see ways you can change it to sound better, or areas you can edit to improve the flow. This is one reason it’s important to allow a manuscript to ‘rest’ between drafts.
Developing a unique writing style and voice takes time and work, keep at it and it will come.