Today I’m going to talk about voice and style. Voice is a thread that weaves through the characters stories showing us their experiences, values, beliefs, interests and personal preferences. Similarly, in non-fiction it is the author’s voice that does the same.
Readers are attracted to an author because of the way they weave their stories. For example, Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling and Stephen King. Each of these authors are well known for their writing style and voice. By writing style, I mean their word choice, tone, sentence structure, sensory details, etcetera.
As a writer, uncovering your voice and style can be tricky because some elements are inherent while others are shaped by personal choice and experience.
Write what you like to read
The best way to establish your voice is write what you like to read. Look at your own life and don’t be afraid to use your own experiences in your writing. This will help establish your own voice and style.
When you read or watch a movie make a list of things you love and include them in your stories. What sort of characters do you like? What is your favorite setting, genre or theme? Write freely about them to influence your voice.
First person, omniscient or third person?
Do you like writing in past or present tense? Experiment with writing in first person, omniscient and third person. Once you’ve established which one you prefer, write in that style and stay away from the rest.
Never compare your writing to other writers. That’s a good way not to develop your creative abilities. If you want to compare your writing look at something you’ve written a year ago and compare it to the way you are writing now.
Give yourself time
Voice and style aren’t developed overnight. The more you write the more confident you’ll become. It can take years of writing to establish your creative footing. I know I’m still trying to find mine.
You may find that your voice and style change just like your personal beliefs and priorities change over time. It’s like peeling back the layers and discovering who you are.
The secret to finding your voice on the page is to relax and be yourself when you write. If you’re relaxed, you will write fast, and fast writers sound more like themselves. Think of it as talking with fluidity. When you’re tense and agonize over every word your true self will be lost in formality.