As I read through my favorite blogs this morning, I came across this article by Cheryl Reif (Twitter Peep and fellow writer/blogger) on Finding Voice in Writing.
Let me just say…
THIS IS A BROAD TOPIC WITH EVEN BROADER OPINIONS AND I’M ADDING ANOTHER TO THE HEAP.
Why is this such a vague area? Well…because there is no specific definition for it, so everyone defines it in their own way – which is exactly what I’m about to do!
After Googling around I came across several articles about voice and style and tone. Some people see the trio as separate entities and others see style and tone as a part of voice.
Maybe they are the same thing…I don’t know…but in my eyes they are not.
**Disclaimer: Before You Read Any Further: This is just my opinion…I could be crazy.
After reading Cheryl’s article, I wondered what my definition was and how I distinguished between voice and style and tone.
The answer was pretty clear.
It’s often said that Voice belongs to the author, and I agree. We are the creators. What I don’t agree with is what Voice actually is.
When I read a book, especially if it is in first person, I don’t hear the author’s voice. I hear the character speaking. I don’t think about the author’s morals or beliefs, I think about the character’s.
In my opinion a weak voice is when a novel doesn’t take hold because of lack of development and/or lack of consistency of the main character.
To me, voice is just that: The voice that grabs me on the first page and carries me through a novel…or not.
But…that isn’t how everyone else sees it.
Most people consider voice to be the calling-card of a writer…the thing that sets them apart and makes them identifiable even out of context.
I think it is their style that sets them apart. The way in which they write and use the voice of that character to drive a story.
So…after Googling and reading I decided to check with Merriam-Webster to find their definition of voice in general…as in – human sound made with vocal chords…and I came across this:
Know your characters and stay true to them as you write. Make their voice a strong one and let it be heard. Bits of you are always embedded in your characters…but they are their own entity. Let them be who they are.
Understand that your style is derived from your personality, life experiences, morals, views, etc. It is the way your writing flows, the way it provokes reader emotion. It’s basically how you and you alone tell a story.