• Danni Roan

Rolling, Writing; Finding 'Voice'



Writing is a process. Not only is it a process in the sense that you sit down at the computer and plot, plan, and peck, but because you learn as you go.

A key aspect to writing is something called 'voice'. The definition of voice is: The writer's voice is the individual writing style of an author, a combination of idiotypical usage of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text (or across several works). Voice can be thought of in terms of the uniqueness of a vocal voice machine. But what does that really mean?


When an author sits down to write a story they may know what that story is about from beginning to end or they may have a general idea of who, what, where, when, and how, without truly knowing what direction that story will take. Some authors are planners who plan out every aspect of a story before they ever write the first word, while others are 'pansters', writers who fly by the seat of the pants and are often as surprised as their readers at how the story goes. Whichever form or writing is yours the story will not flow until you find your voice. Voice is, in reality, the quality of your writing that lets the reader hear 'you' tell the story.

Finding your voice is often a scary thing. As a new author you study the writing of others and you want to create the best story you can which often means you fall into the trap of stifling your own voice in imitation of others. This leads to a book that can often feel disjointed or unconnected. Another throttle to finding your voice is the edit. Editing is one of the key components to a good book or written piece, editing is the polish to the work that makes it readable and comprehensible, it can also kill your voice.

A good editor will not only find your mistakes and clean up the grammar, punctuation, syntax, and diction they will also learn your voice and help you develop it. Grammar rules are confusing at best and often contradictory in nature but simply being skilled in the intricacies of grammar does not make a story. In fact at times these rules can so restrict a story that it becomes stiff, unnatural, and artificial, which makes for a very difficult and tiring read. First let your voice flow, then edit to meet the needs of the story.

Finding voice is something that makes a story, article, or essay enjoyable and interesting. It is what grabs a reader, whisking them away on a magical journey on a sea of delightful prose. Finding your voice means letting your heart free to toy with the intricacies of language, turning them to your needs so that they speak to the reader as if to an old friend.


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