Aug 27, 2010

Ezmirelda On Writing: Voice

My take on Voice,where it comes from, and how to find it.

No guys *rolls eyes*, I'm not talking about that type of voice. I'm talking about a writer's voice--but you get the point, haha. :)


What is this funny little thing we call “Voice”?

n. Voice is the author's style, the quality that makes his or her writing unique, and which conveys the author's attitude, personality, and character.

n. Voice is the characteristic speech and thought patterns of a first-person narrator; a persona.

So why do we keep on hearing so much about it?

Because voice has so much to do with the reader's experience of a work of literature, it is one of the most important elements of a piece of writing.

So here’s the good news folks:

Voice is something that emerges naturally as a writer develops. So, yes, eventually (if you are constantly developing your style and skill) you will find your voice.

As always voice is something you’re going to have to work at before you get it right. So don’t get discouraged just yet—give yourself some time to grow.

How to develop your voice:

-I think this is kind of obvious but the best way to develop your voice is to write—A LOT.

-Figure out what your voice is. Poetic, morbid, funny, informational, romantic. A mix of the aforementioned?

-Let your writing become a reflection of yourself on paper.

-Make it sound unique and original—your thoughts and emotions and opinions should be your own.

Want an example?

Pick up two books (written by two different authors of course). Compare their words, style, and tone.

*Waits while you go and grab a book from your bookshelf which is probably too full to fit the books you recently brought, but you’ll try to cram it in somehow anyways*

Now that you’ve gotten your two books and have skimmed through them a bit, ask yourself--Do they sound the same?

And the answer is—of course they’re not the same! They’re written by two different authors, with two very different experiences, feelings and emotions.

That right there is Voice.

**Note: If you have anything to share about your experience with finding voice please feel free to share. I’m a developing learner of voice myself.



  1. Please answer the poll on the side if you can. I'm really curious about the answers it'll get. I'm always surprised by the results! :)


  2. Great post! I think it would also do to clarify between author's voice and character's voice - which can be two very different things.

  3. the picture is kind of like voice... few singers sing alike (and those who do are usually criticized).

    great post--good luck w/your development! now to the poll~

  4. Hi there - you know you won the Oasis for YA give away of the Broken Lake, right?? Send me your addy and I'll have the author send you your copy. jessieharrell (at) me (dot) com

  5. @Angie- I'll add that as well ;)

    @LTM- It is pretty similar. I guess the picture made sense after all.

    @Jessie- Oh wow! Really?? *excited*

  6. This is great, Ezmirelda! It is so true that the best way to find it is to write write write. There is a theory about not being there until you hit a million words. For most people that is TEN books, though I think if you've written a lot of OTHER stuff, you can find it anyway.

    The OTHER thing you want to do, once you FIND your voice, is be willing to change genres to one your voice best fits. I got my cozy mystery contract (a genre I'd never considered) because a blog reader recognized my voice as a perfect fit and hooked me up with her agent and an audition. And honestly? It's a PERFECT fit for my sillier self (which you probably know is hard for me to hide)

  7. Hey it's Ivy! I've to check out your blog! It's really cool--and pretty! I loved your article, by the way.

    You're right, you're voice will become more apparent the more you write, the more you stick to a voice. Sometimes it helps to pick up the books you love. See what they all have in common. Is it the voice? Maybe you just found the voice you want your voice to be! (wow, I could not have used the word VOICE anymore, could I have? :D)

    All the best,


  8. @Hart- Mystery really? Now that I think about it that voice really does suit you. I guess my voice fits in so well with YA genre because I am a teenager but maybe that'll change in the future....or maybe not, hehe ;)

    @Ivy- Thanks for visiting!And yeah, I pick up the books I like the most and pay attention to their voice. But its importnt to develop your own original voice and not to copy someone else. Someone told me that voice was a lot eaier to acheive than it looks. :)

  9. Good article. "Voice" is one of those least definable aspects of writing. I mean, we all get plot, dialogue, settings, etc. But voice has an ineffable quality that makes it tough to pin down.

    And if you think it's hard describing a writer's voice, consider the effort required to develop it! It took me about a year and a half of *not* having the voice, then one day, boom. Like a bolt out of the blue, I had it.

    This epiphany happened when I re-wrote my first two intro paragraphs of my novel, and right there it was -- Voice! It was one of the truly "ah-ha!" moments I've had.

    I blogged about this experience, if you'd like to read more:

  10. @ Bryan- thanks soo much for the link! I love learning about other people's experience with voice--I just find it all so inspiring.

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  12. For me, I think of voice as personality. The personality of the narrator will leap off the page with good writing. I still struggle with it! But I know it takes time. :)

  13. @ Dayana- I think personality is a great way to describe it! It's like trascribing yourself onto paper.

  14. Awesome post! I've been trying to figure out my voice for a while now, but have failed many times -_- Well, I guess everyone already has their voice, but I've been trying to write in a different style as of late. Since I hate writing in my current one...

    Thanks for the list of tips :) They're very helpful. But as for this suggestion, "Let your writing become a reflection of yourself on paper. " I think that your voice should differ depending on your character. Like if you were writing a book about a juvenile delinquent, the tone would be a lot sloppier. But if you were writing from the POV of a popular kid, they would sound...a lot different. They shouldn't be minature "you's". Or however author James Scott Bell put it. I don't know how to describe it though, lol :P

    I love your blog, by the way! :D I want to follow it , but I can't find the follow button... If there's supposed to be one. I've forgotten how to do this, lol.

    Oh, and my name's Chiaki (Chi) by the way. My Google account isn't letting me comment for some reason, so I'm using my LJ account instead. *rereads last paragraph* uhh..well, Chi isn't my "name name" as in, real name. Just a pseudonym :)


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