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Monday, August 22, 2011

Developing Your Own Writing Voice

PLEASE NOTE: I am running my first-ever contest. To learn more, click on the little blue "Contest" tag at right. Congratulatons to Kimberly, last week's winner. Three more weeks to go!

When I recently looked up "writer's voice," I found this great (and true!) line: Ask 5 writers what constitutes voice and you'll get 15 answers. I'd say yes, at least 15.

If you continue to look, you'll find all kinds of contradictory definitions. Most readers agree that (as the Supreme Court once famously said about pornography) we know it when we see it; that is, we can recognize the writing voices of our favorite authors, but ask us to define those voices and we're stuck.

Wikipedia calls it "a combination of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, etc." Other web sites discuss appropriate tone for the purpose and audience of the writing or even more esoteric elements.

Under the circumstances a reasonable question might be, "If no one can agree on a clear definition of what constitutes voice, how am I to develop mine?" The answer is WRITE -- early and often, about anything, everything, and a little bit more. Then keep writing.

One day you'll look up and realize Hey, I'm a writer, and I have a voice.

And that is how it's done.

Share your voice? How would you define it?

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