Author Topic: How to find your voice as an author?  (Read 1083 times)  

Offline Matsvederhus

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How to find your voice as an author?
« on: April 20, 2016, 01:57:38 pm »
Simple question.
Have you found yours yet, and what did you do to find it?

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    Offline Jim Johnson

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #1 on: April 20, 2016, 02:00:29 pm »
    Simple answers.

    How to find your voice as an author? Write a lot. Continue to learn the craft via reading, taking workshops, talking to other writers, living life.

    Have you found yours yet? Mostly. The more I write the stronger my voice gets.

    What did you do to find it? Wrote a lot. Continuing to learn the craft via reading, taking workshops, talking to other writers, living life.

    Offline C. E. Stocker

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #2 on: April 20, 2016, 02:14:28 pm »
    I agree with what Jim said, namely you have to just keep writing. My opinion on voice is it's probably as close to an organic process as anything else about the whole writing experience. Focus first on story and characters, write the story, repeat the process and voice will eventually be more evident.
    With only one novel out there and several short stories, my voice is still developing. But it feels at least stronger to me on this second novel as I'm writing it, even if my focus isn't directly targeting it.

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    Offline Briteka

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #3 on: April 20, 2016, 02:24:54 pm »
    I'm not sure you can really find your voice. Everyone has one when writing. Even the worst writers ever have a voice. Your voice is simply the way you write and the words you choose when you write. Some people's voices come out stronger than others for whatever reason, though I'm not quite sure why. Maybe because they have certain quirks that stand out more.

    Offline Matsvederhus

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #4 on: April 21, 2016, 12:57:12 am »
    Interesting answers! :)
    I'm still not sure I've found my voice, but I hope it'll come as I keep on writing.

    Offline LeonardDHilleyII

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #5 on: April 21, 2016, 01:03:45 am »
    Simple answers.

    How to find your voice as an author? Write a lot. Continue to learn the craft via reading, taking workshops, talking to other writers, living life.

    Have you found yours yet? Mostly. The more I write the stronger my voice gets.

    What did you do to find it? Wrote a lot. Continuing to learn the craft via reading, taking workshops, talking to other writers, living life.

    ^^^This. Plus, I will add that each character in your book(s) should have his/her own personality. Make dialogue believable. Study people in how they talk, their gestures, etc.

    Offline Veronica Sicoe

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #6 on: April 21, 2016, 01:22:28 am »
    I think voice reflects your attitude toward the genre & story you write.

    Authors who write in multiple genres often have multiple voices, suited to those specific genres. Your voice will also (ideally) change if you switch approaches to tell a story, like if you try to get the reader to feel excited, awed, horrified, etc. your voice should adapt to evoke those emotions.

    I feel it's misleading to think of voice as being a trait an author has. Voice is the result of an author's attitude & perspective meeting a certain type of story.

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    Offline Douglas Milewski

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #7 on: April 21, 2016, 12:02:35 pm »
    And voice does change over time. It's not like you only have one forever. You are always finding your voice.

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    Offline Briteka

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #8 on: April 21, 2016, 12:19:05 pm »
    I think voice reflects your attitude toward the genre & story you write.

    Authors who write in multiple genres often have multiple voices, suited to those specific genres. Your voice will also (ideally) change if you switch approaches to tell a story, like if you try to get the reader to feel excited, awed, horrified, etc. your voice should adapt to evoke those emotions.

    I feel it's misleading to think of voice as being a trait an author has. Voice is the result of an author's attitude & perspective meeting a certain type of story.

    Strong voices are absolutely a trait. Stephen King has the same voice in his nonfiction books as he does in his fiction books. He has the same voice in his EW articles. His voice is the same no matter the genre of the book. That's what makes him such a popular author. People buy his books so they can be told a story from Stephen King. Everything he writes feels like he's personally telling you a story. I don't think this is something he actually works on. 30-year-old books he can't even remember writing because he knocked them out in a weekend high on coke have the same voice as his masterpieces.

    It's just him. It's the way he writes.

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #9 on: April 21, 2016, 12:31:53 pm »

    I'm not sure you can really find your voice. Everyone has one when writing. Even the worst writers ever have a voice. Your voice is simply the way you write and the words you choose when you write. Some people's voices come out stronger than others for whatever reason, though I'm not quite sure why. Maybe because they have certain quirks that stand out more.

    I disagree with this. I used to read slush for a small press, and some of it was... well, the narrative had so little sense of intent, it was like random sentences just thrown on the page. There was no voice, because there was no cohesion - it just felt like a bunch of words.
             

    Offline Briteka

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #10 on: April 21, 2016, 12:37:03 pm »
    I disagree with this. I used to read slush for a small press, and some of it was... well, the narrative had so little sense of intent, it was like random sentences just thrown on the page. There was no voice, because there was no cohesion - it just felt like a bunch of words.

    I'm wondering how people are defining voice here. If I took ten text messages from a random sampling of my friends, I'd be able to guess who wrote 8 of them just by the voice of the text message. Everyone has a voice when they write. Perhaps people thinking about voice might actually lose their voice as they try to change the things they do. I don't know. I guess I just can't relate to people who write in a million different ways like you describe. That just doesn't seem natural to me.

    Online ShayneRutherford

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #11 on: April 21, 2016, 02:00:58 pm »

    I'm wondering how people are defining voice here. If I took ten text messages from a random sampling of my friends, I'd be able to guess who wrote 8 of them just by the voice of the text message. Everyone has a voice when they write. Perhaps people thinking about voice might actually lose their voice as they try to change the things they do. I don't know. I guess I just can't relate to people who write in a million different ways like you describe. That just doesn't seem natural to me.

    I get what you're saying, in that everyone has a way of saying things that's different from everyone else, and so they have their own voice. Maybe it's the difference between a voice with flavor, and one that's so bland its indistinguishable from all the other bland voices?
             

    Offline EmmaS

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #12 on: April 21, 2016, 03:03:53 pm »
    I'm wondering how people are defining voice here. If I took ten text messages from a random sampling of my friends, I'd be able to guess who wrote 8 of them just by the voice of the text message. Everyone has a voice when they write. Perhaps people thinking about voice might actually lose their voice as they try to change the things they do. I don't know. I guess I just can't relate to people who write in a million different ways like you describe. That just doesn't seem natural to me.
    I don't think it's so much about writing in a million different ways as it is writing in four or five ways. I have different voices that come out depending on the character, POV of the book, time period, and genre--but they're all my voices, and they all took time and a lot of writing to develop.

    At times, the differences between those voices are simple and easy to spot. The book I just finished (snarky YA paranormal) includes a lot of sentences that start with "and," "but," or "so." The book I'm working on (fantasy romance) has almost none and tends to use more complete sentences. My snarky YA voice asks a lot of rhetorical questions in the narrative. My fantasy romance makes a lot of declarative statements. The YA voice uses filler words like "just," "or whatever," and "kind of." My fantasy romance doesn't. I didn't plan any of these things--they just came out during the writing when I was getting to know my characters--but the differences are surprisingly easy to analyze.

    Offline BWFoster78

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #13 on: April 21, 2016, 03:13:45 pm »
    I'm wondering how people are defining voice here. If I took ten text messages from a random sampling of my friends, I'd be able to guess who wrote 8 of them just by the voice of the text message. Everyone has a voice when they write. Perhaps people thinking about voice might actually lose their voice as they try to change the things they do. I don't know. I guess I just can't relate to people who write in a million different ways like you describe. That just doesn't seem natural to me.

    I couldn't even begin to define voice. All I know is that one day I'm editing a draft of my novel and I suddenly realize something had changed. And it really was suddenly. Like over the course of a chapter or two.

    I can't speak for anyone else, but once I found my voice, I just knew. And I absolutely knew.

    I'm like, "This. This is exactly who I am as a writer."

    I went back and re-edited the start of the book up to that point to make it match.

    Again, I can't define it, but I know I like my writing now orders of magnitude better than the stuff I wrote before I found my voice.

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    Offline Mari Oliver

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #14 on: April 21, 2016, 03:18:12 pm »
    Just like Brian and some of the others have said, knowing when I found my voice was a sudden thing that just snuck up on me. I'm still at the point where it weaves in and out of my work, but it's mostly in. Meaning, I still catch myself writing in a way I think I should, then I correct myself and let creative voice take over.

    When I read over my work sometimes it's like I can hear myself talk. It's neat. :)

    Offline Nope

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #15 on: April 21, 2016, 03:57:10 pm »
    .
    « Last Edit: September 29, 2018, 08:35:35 pm by Nope »

    Offline Briteka

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #16 on: April 21, 2016, 04:51:33 pm »
    Voice is tricky when it comes to first person books, especially present tense. We should be hearing the MC's voice, not the author's.

    Perhaps this is why present tense was never really used until self publishing became a thing and still isn't by trade-published authors. I can't really think of any major authors that change their voice from book to book or pov to pov. Of course, I can't really think of many major authors that use first person, and I can't think of a single one that uses present tense. Even authors like JK Rowling that have major switches in genre have the same voice. Her adult novels, including the one she wrote under a pseudonym, sound just like Harry Potter. There's some "maturing", but her voice comes through strong in all of them.

    Online ShayneRutherford

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #17 on: April 21, 2016, 05:02:45 pm »

    Perhaps this is why present tense was never really used until self publishing became a thing and still isn't by trade-published authors. I can't really think of any major authors that change their voice from book to book or pov to pov. Of course, I can't really think of many major authors that use first person, and I can't think of a single one that uses present tense. Even authors like JK Rowling that have major switches in genre have the same voice. Her adult novels, including the one she wrote under a pseudonym, sound just like Harry Potter. There's some "maturing", but her voice comes through strong in all of them.

    This is very dependent on genre. YA and UF use first person a lot. I think you see first person in romance a fair bit, too, but I don't read romance, so I can't be sure.
             

    Online Crystal_

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #18 on: April 21, 2016, 05:25:44 pm »
    I read and write romance. I mostly read first person. I think there are authors in the genre with a strong voice. I know I mentioned Kylie Scott in another thread. She has a strong voice but you can also feel the difference between each character.

    In any close POV, you want to distinguish from author voice and character voice. I write in the same style (my voice) in all my books, but all my MCs sound a little different. If you gave me a few paragraphs from one of my books, I could probably tell the narrator.

    Online ShayneRutherford

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #19 on: April 21, 2016, 05:28:37 pm »
    From a quick browse on my Kindle, here are some trad pub authors who use first person:
    - Kelley Armstrong
    - William Bell
    - Harlan Coben
    - Suzanne Collins
    - Michael Connelly
    - Charlaine Harris
    - JA Konrath
    - Dean Koontz
    - James Patterson
             

    Offline G.L. Snodgrass

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #20 on: April 21, 2016, 05:37:05 pm »
    I found my voice when I stopped trying to sound like someone else. I finally got to the point where I felt like I was sitting by a camp fire telling a story to my friends and family. It was me telling the story. Not me acting like someone else telling the story. I stopped trying to sound like John Steinbeck or Stephen King or Stephanie Laurens.

    It was very freeing. My word choice changed. What I emphasized, even what I included and what I left out, everything became different after I found my voice.

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    Offline RipleyKing

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    Re: How to find your voice as an author?
    « Reply #21 on: April 21, 2016, 07:40:41 pm »
     The Elements of Expression by Arthur Plotnik. Henry Holt and Company. A must-have read if you want to understand the force words can have, and the true voice lurking inside of you.

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