The writer’s voice. We read about it, talk about it, angst over it, and yet we struggle to define exactly what it is. I once read where voice is a literary term that describes a writer’s style (style being defined by the use of character development, dialogue, syntax and diction).
I’m a simple girl. For me, voice is where the ‘telling’ of the story and the ‘showing’ of the action blend. The more seamless the blend, the better the finished story. Voice is each author’s unique and individual style of bringing the reader inside the story to the same place as the author.
A writer’s voice will show some of their inner character and personality. The characters created often reflect some of the writer’s attitudes. How can they not? Laying yourself bare for the reader isn’t easy. It’s a gradual process, one you can move through at your own pace.
When a writer is just starting out, everyone encourages her/him to develop their voice. The only way to do that is to write so the voice can emerge and develop. The time it takes to do that is another reason aspiring writers get so frustrated with the industry. It takes as long as it takes, so be patient. Remember - there are no worthwhile shortcuts to success.
Over the years, my voice has matured. I see it as a matter of gaining confidence - I’m no longer afraid to sound like myself. Having the reader come and sit in the same spot from where I wrote the story is no longer scary.
Whether it’s conscious or not, everything we do as authors strengthens our voice. Making each story better than the last is ingrained in our psyche. We constantly strive toward that goal, collectively and individually. We nurture our voice, and our ultimate reward has nothing to do with money.
It’s reading a book and, at the end, saying, “Wow. I wrote that.”