Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Finding Your Voice

You've seen me mention a few times now, that every writer has their own voice. What exactly does that mean?

We all speak a certain way. We use specific emphases; structure our sentences just so. We may even speak and write with an accent!

Oh don't get offended. I had to teach my father English. Trust me, I KNOW I've got an accent! LOL

So, what is a writer's voice? It is that sentence structure; those emphases. It is the way we think. The way we perceive the story in our mind that we are trying to put into words. THAT is our voice.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am ridiculously animated. I use hand gestures, voices, accents, the whole nine yards. I grew up in the theatre, what do you expect? I speak as if I'm always on stage. LOL. So, that is my voice. My animation, my accents, my facial expressions - they all create my voice. So does my tendency for short sentences. I tend to write staccato, which means short and choppy. Sometimes, that is a GREAT tool to have. Other times, not so much. So I am learning how to lengthen my sentences, but use the staccato when appropriate.

Don't deny it. You're looking at the monitor all confused wondering what your voice is. I don't know, you tell me. What is your sentense structure like? Are your sentences short and choppy like mine, or are they unending? What words do you find yourself using repeatedly? THAT is your voice.

But just as your voices change with age, so do our writing voices. The more you write, the more you challenge yourself to write in different genres, your voice will change. It will grow. It will evolve.

Bear in mind, as you write that these are written words. Unfortunately for us, our readers miss our animation. They may not emphasize the same part of the sentence that we might. Be sure that when you write, not only do you use your voice, you do so with clarity. An easy way to lose your readers is to be vague or even possibly offensive because the reader took something the wrong way. We've all been there! Who hasn't written or read that e-mail that just gets right under our skin only to find out it wasn't meant like that at all?!

Ok, folks. Write, write, write! Use your unique voice. It adds to color of your story. Just remember to use your voice and to be sure that you're using it the right way. :)

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