It is easy to identify the books of some authors by listening to someone read them, or reading them yourself. You can recognize specific words, and exclaim, ‘that’s J.K. Rowling’ or ‘Seth Godin’. This is because they have different writing voices.
A writer’s voice is his/her unique perception of the world. It is the way a writer sees and understands the world. This expresses itself in the writer’s choice of words, point of view, rendition of characters, tone on the pages of his/her book.
For example, J.K. Rowling wrote on magic, wizards, spells, and the struggle between right and wrong. Chimamanda Adichie promotes the idea of feminism through her female heroines, writes on the gap between the old and new generation, using cliff-hangers as an ending. C.S. Lewis used the images and ideal of a parallel world to expose the weaknesses of the human nature.
No two writers have the same writing voice.
Every writer has an innate voice. You do too. However, you can make improvements on your voice, or adjust it to suit whatever you write. It is this voice that attracts readers, and keeps your work fresh in their memories.
How to Find Your Writing Voice
- Identify your reason for writing: Why do you write? A writer who teaches will use a different voice from a writer who encourages.
- Identify the things you value the most: They would always appear in your writings.
- What are your ideals? What do you stand for, what do you despise, who wins between the good and the bad?
- Observe and study the people around you: Try to find out things about their life. Deduce the secrets they keep, the persons they trust, their ideals, things that irritate them, their dreams, and so on. Be subtle about it to avoid trouble. You could use that information to create your characters.
- Pick a point-of-view for your characters: What point of view would you use – first person, second person, or third person?
- Be a scientist: By that, I mean you should observe your surroundings. Find out the things that appeal to you and how they make you feel. Create scenes from them.
- Make a decision on your sentence structures: Would you rather be grammatically correct or use street language? Would there be cultural slangs? Would you cuss? Do you prefer long or short sentences, or a mix?
- Identify your conversation strength: Do you prefer dialogue, or narration, or both?
- Read books written by your favorite authors: Find their voices, and make notes.
- Write whatever you want, the way you want it: Switch genres – short stories to novels, fiction to non-fiction, and so on.
Find a comfortable place to seat, be relaxed.
Set out your writing materials and give answers to the questions raised.
In letting your mind wander, and your words flow freely on paper, you will surely find your voice.