Friday Fundamentals for Solid Writing Habits: 5 Ways to Develop “Voice”

Voice is a nebulous thing. What exactly is it, and how do I get one? Well, let me help you out. Voice is when you use language to create personality,  attitude, and one’s behavioral approach in any situation. This voice can be that of the author, the narrator, or the characters in your story.

Consider the Purpose of the Writing.

My voice needs to surface with how I want to be received, right? My voice can vary, depending on the purpose of my writing. I won’t become the witty critic when writing a condolence letter for the grieving. I won’t be a melancholy whiner if I write a sales pitch for watermelons.

Vary your sentence length.

Writing a variety of sentence lengths, which might require you to break out of your comfortable patterns, will allow a dynamic reading. The reader will sense your voice is moving and active, but controlled and manageable.

Word Choice determines Attitudes.

Elevated, lofty words make for an elegant and intellectual voice. Practical, relatable words create the no-nonsense voice. Cheeky risks, like occasional profanity, or popular slang convey a relaxed, informal personality.

Genre guides us.

Comedy, for example, requires humor. There are tons of comical devices to use. Here is the list. My favorite strategy is to alternate serious thoughts with absurdly unimportant ones.

                       She felt horribly for ditching him at the prom. He actually started crying and ran his                         hand through his hair. God, he had great hair. 

When we want to be seen as intelligent but humble, we have to alternate our language accordingly.

 This was a fucking obsolete and ambiguous mechanism. I mean, who would know? 

Authenticity is Original.

Most importantly, if we want to be unique or original, as so many publishers will request, we have to move into some serious honesty – where the unexpected things happen. We have to say the real and the difficult things, the things that make us vulnerable, the things that will definitely be judged. That is the special place where one’s voice will become a stand out! That is where the really great voices are heard.

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