I get a lot of emails and questions about how to create voice in writing. What is it? How do you recognize it? How do you find yours? Is “voice” the same thing as wit or sarcasm or sentence craft?
It May Not Be Time to Worry About How to Create Voice in Writing
For most writers who are starting out in their careers and learning about the writing craft, my advice is not to worry about voice just yet. It’s a very higher order skill and usually comes after the writer has already laid a sentence craft and mechanics foundation. Get the basics down, then start developing the more advanced stuff. (More tips on creating great writing voice here.)
But I don’t want to leave readers hanging. I’ve thought about it a lot and distilled my thoughts on voice to one rather clunky sentence.
Voice, quickly: The words you say and how you say them, which gives the reader insight into your character, too.
If that’s not enough for you, former literary agent Nathan Bransford (He has a blog, too … maybe you’ve heard of him? Ha! I kid! Everybody’s heard of him!) has written a fantastic study of how to create voice in writing and sentence craft. For those who are still confused about voice, this might not snap you out of your confusion, but it will give you interesting things to think about.
But Once You’re Ready, It’s All About Sentence Craft
So here, from Nathan Bransford, is voice, brilliantly.
I know it’s frustrating to keep hearing, “You’ll know it when you read it” or, “One day, you’ll just wake up and know,” but that’s really, really true. Keep hacking away at how to create voice in writing and getting those words on the page and your grasp on voice will keep tightening, I promise.
Voice is one of the tougher craft elements to nail. Work with me as your freelance editor, and we can crack this tough topic together.