Voice In Writing: How to Find Your Writing Voice?
Many authors’ voices are easily identifiable. For example, William Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, or Toni Morrison have their definitive voice in writing. Any experienced writer can recognize that. They will never confuse Shakespeare with Morrison. In the case of poets also the scenario is quite the same. Whether it is Ezra Pound or Billy Collins- you can identify their literary voices. In this article, we talk about voice in writing.
What is Voice in Writing?
How to identify what voice in writing is? Is it some kind of technique? Or is it the writing style? If we define voice in literary terms, it would be a rhetorical mixture of opinion, tone, vocabulary, and pattern that makes the sentences, paragraphs, and the entire writing flow in a specific manner. Hence, in novels, we can see multiple voices.
Because in a novel, there is the author’s voice and the individual characters’ voices. It means that the voice in your writing defines one’s particular way of writing. It refers to the choices of words, sentence structure, and punctuation.
Voice is not something, you can prominently see or measure. It is something that you can feel and realize. It is a writer’s way to see the world. For example, let’s talk about the color orange. If you ask four people, everyone will see the color orange. But if you ask them to describe the color orange then you will get a variety of different descriptions.
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How Can We Distinguish Between the Author’s Voice and the Character’s Voice?
An author inculcates a unique tone upon his/her different characters. We call that a character’s voice. For example, the main character of a novel might be amiable and garrulous. Words will come out of his mouth seamlessly, which might cause trouble for the other characters. That doesn’t mean that all the other characters of the novel will be equally wordy.
An experienced author gives every character an individual touch of personality. Through the written dialogue, the author gives every character a different vocal syntax, which makes every character significant and prominent.
An Author’s Voice Can be Recognized in Two Different Ways:
- Through the Third Person’s Narration: Some writers like Morrison or Hawthrone prefer to explain their stories through the third person’s narration. That doesn’t mean they don’t have their specific voice in writing. In fact, through that third person’s narration, they have set their particular tone, word selection, opinion, and sentence format to maintain a significant voice in your writing.
- Through the Point of View Expressed in the Story: Some authors, on the other hand, showcase their voice in writing through their point of view expressed in their stories. If you see Oates or Margaret Atwood, you can easily understand their different patterns of storytelling, their different perspectives. Their perspectives are highlighted through their book’s mood but not through the dialogues. Their writing styles are highlighted by their themes and character types.
Some Examples of Voice in Writing from Famous Novelists
- Mark Twain has a dry tongue-in-cheek theory of sarcasm. This theory permeates in his famous novels like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This theory is also very prominent in “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s court”. The stories are way too different from each other, but the theory portrayal makes them similar in the terms of voice in writing.
- Tony Morrison’s fancy narratives are prominent in most of his popular novels like beloved Jazz and The Bluest Eye.
- Ernest Hemmingway has brusque and economical prose. It is very prominent in most of his fiction. There are some authors like Herman Melville or Joseph Conrad who prefer giving elaborated descriptions. On the other hand, Hemingway is very precise about it. If you read The Sun Also Rises, you can understand that.
- Joyce Carol Oates has an individual literary voice that injects into his influences and creates a brilliant amalgamation of unique styles.
- Leo Tolstoy has a pet theme. His distrust of anyone who is attempting to change the world or the continual acknowledgment of life’s never-ending complications creates a different writing style. His well-maintained skepticism towards the patent hierarchies of religious and academic classes creates his voice.
- Dan Brown has an accessible language. That language and the interesting plot twists create his voice in writing.
How does Voice in Writing Make Your Writing Unique?
Different spaces require different voices in writing. For example, the voice in a celebrity gossip magazine and the voice in a news page have major differences. Voice defines the personality. An interesting strong voice will make you read every single word with equal attention. It helps to create consistency in writing. It indirectly helps to draw the attention of your readers.
Often we see that people might have a very short list of his/her favorite writers, but they will read their works no matter whatever the subject is. It is simply because they love their voice in their writing. That particular voice in the writing helps to establish a relation between the reader and the author. If the voice in your writing is not very impressive, then it will not seem appealing to the readers.
Voice differs from one writer to another. Voice is a writer’s identity in his/her writing. It is like their signature. It brings out the individuality of every writer. We can compare the importance of voice with musical notes. Have you ever seen a guitarist? You might have noticed that even if you give the same piece of notes to multiple guitarists, they will have the same notes, but the melody will be different. That is how the voice works.
As a writer, you have your voice, but you need to utilize that properly and perfectly. In voice, it is essential to maintain your honesty. You should never copy someone else’s voice in writing because that makes your work distractive to the readers. Voice is not something you can create, but it is something that you can develop.
According to the famous author Richard Gardner, a voice in writing is like an expression. You give an emotion, a life to your writing through the voice. Every reader wants to connect with the characters and see themselves through those characters. Voice is the door to enter for that connection. Voice adds feelings, believes, and fears to your writing.
Why is Voice in a Writing Important?
- When you already know your writing voice, you don’t have to waste your time. You can immediately jump into portraying your thoughts.
- We all see our surrounding world with our eyes. But only a few can pen down these worlds into words. While observing the surrounding people and incidents you can start calculating your character portrayals, dialogues, and plots.
- Readers love to connect with the characters. Voice helps you to create that connection. You can add all the required emotions in your writing through voice.
- Through the help of voice, you can easily avoid unnecessary cliches in your writing.
- Voice makes your writing style very precise. You can avoid unwanted descriptions and elaborations.
- With a firm voice, you can make your writing more appealing. Your readers will then love spending time with your works.
- You will understand the different writing rules and can apply them in your writing.
- To master the voice in writing, you will start practicing every day, which will make your work better.
Elements of Your Voice:
As we have already mentioned, voice defines your personality and individuality. While reading your work, readers should feel your personality and your beliefs. But at the same time, you have to be careful about the fact that you are portraying your characters but not yourself.
In the case of journals or research papers, the scenario is a bit different. Here your personal experience matters a lot. Your personality here can create a better impact. So, to maintain a proper and correct voice in writing, you have to focus on the elements of voice.
The tone is an important element of voice. The way you talk means a lot in the concept of voice. Talking expresses your individuality and personality better. This is because of tone. If you communicate through your writing, then that creates a special effect. The level of importance you give to the message you want to share should be the same while communicating.
There are various tones that you can apply in your voice. For example, formal, jovial, humorous, ironic, or sarcastic. The tone you will use in your writing will have a great impact on your brand value. That doesn’t mean you have to use the same tone in every writing. For example, you can write your blogs in a friendly manner, and also in some blog posts, you can be straightforward. In terms of voice, the most important thing is the consistency of tone throughout the entire piece of writing.
The second most important element of voice is rhythm. Rhythm denotes the steps or flow of writing. Through punctuation, alliteration, paragraphs, sentence structure, a rhythm is created. Rhythm is a technical concept in writing.
3. A Mutable Pattern of Writing:
Writers own versatility in their nature. They can use different writing styles or drone into different factors, or can smoothly choose other topics. They can write novels, poems, and short stories. Regardless of what their genre is, they can work on different areas. Voice is their power. Voice cannot be created but can be developed over time.
You can have flexibility with the tone of your writing, but you cannot transmit voice. With continual practice and inspiration, it can develop. Having a very individual and unique voice in writing doesn’t mean you can follow mutable patterns.
Depending on the format or scenario, you can change the voice in writing. For example, if you are narrating an incident that happened years ago, you should not apply the voice in such a way that the incident happened just yesterday.
How Can You Find and Develop Your Voice in Your Writing?
1. What are you trying to communicate, yourself or your brand? If you ask your followers or readers to describe your work or product with a few words what will be those words?
2. You have to understand the purpose of your writing. If you are writing a magazine, then the voice should be different from the voice in a short story. Whether you are trying to write something friendly or informative or formal, you have to understand that tone.
3. Try to identify your targeted audiences. Whether you are writing for kids or movie lovers or some news follower, you have to notice that.
4. You need not have a very stylistic voice in your writing. Bring out your voice. That can only create magic. Voice should give your writing a natural feel. Your writing should never feel artificial to your readers. If you stay true to your voice, then you can be neutral in your tone.
5. One of the most fruitful ways to develop your voice is to create proper sentence structure and maintain a perfect rhythm.
6. Voice is the bridge between the two words. It creates the essence of a paragraph. So it is completely up to you, whether you want to choose a first-person narrative or third person.
People often choose first-person narrative because it is easier to apply. But, to do that, you have to be careful if your character has the potential and strength to be the voice in your writing. The first-person narrative plays the main role in attracting the readers.
While thinking of these points and considering your voice in your writing based on these points do you feel your writing is arrogant or long-winded or a bit slow. Then you have to work on your writing manner. Then you have to check the works of your competitors. It helps in better understanding. Also, if you read or research their writing style, then only you can stand out of the crowd and create something unique.
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How Do You Translate Voice into Words?
Once you have identified your voice, you have to give it a proper shape in your writing. Sometimes voices affect your writing style, selection of words, or sentence structure. For example, if you are writing about makeup trends, you would like to keep your voice to be jovial, lively, fun, and accessible.
For that, you have to keep your vocabulary structure very easy but might have to allow a few slang. You have to keep your writing full of freshness. Some people might find it too casual, but to make it appealing to your readers, you have to be specific about your do’s and don’ts.
There are a few more things that you need to consider: jargon, culture-specific terminologies, and sarcasm. For example, if you are writing about a digital marketing course online, then you have to apply some insider terminologies like SEO or Affiliate Marketing. Why? Because this content is for a specific audience.
When you are writing for a tech website, you have to use words like cloud computing. But when you have a more diverse audience, then you have to keep your voice simple and general. In such content, you have to avoid slang and humor that can be misconceived.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is the basic difference between voice and tone?
We often think voice and tone might be the same, and if not, what is the difference between these two terms. The tone is the subpart of the voice. For our easy understanding, we can say it like this: if the voice defines the personality of the writer, then tone sets the mood. However, some don’t agree with this concept. Because many writers maintain a funny voice in their writing, but their tone remains sarcastic or dark in some stories.
2. How can one define voice in literature?
Voice is a certain individual style of an author to write. It shows the personality of the writer. Voice includes syntax, literary techniques, tone, sentence structure, etc.
3. How can voice impact tone?
Voice has an impact on tone. It determines the level of attitudes that can be expressed in writing. It helps in creating the mood of the writing.
4. How many types of voices are there?
There are mainly two types of voices in writing. One is the author’s voice, and the other is the character’s voice.
5. What are the functions of voice in your writing?
The functions of voice in your writing are very significant. Voice shows the objectivity, personality, and opinion of the author. A strong voice will make you read every single word.
Writing is an art. It is a skill. Not everyone can own it. But like every other skill, you can develop and master it by practicing. Never be afraid to try out new, creative, and unique ideas. Experimenting makes a person a better learner. A writer’s voice is a reflection of his/her surrounding world. To be an inspiration in a captivating way, you have to find your voice and start developing the application of it. So that your audience can relate to your stories and start loving your works.