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What is Writer's Voice and How You Can Find Yours

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash
Writer's Voice is a term that's bandied about quite frequently on writing websites and during discussions within the community. But what exactly is it? The most simple definition is: it is the unique, individualistic style that distinguishes a writer from other writers. Most significantly, as Rachel Gardner puts it so eloquently: writer's voice is an expression of You on the page.

It could be one of many things or a combination of several: use of diction, syntax, description style, dialogue, character development, flow of the narrative, tone, etc. However it goes beyond all this--it encompasses your personal world view. Through your voice you connect with  readers with your unique take. 

It's the equivalent of your signature as a writer. And just like you did when you were young -- practise multiple ways of writing your name to finally focus on a particular signature that  you would use life long -- a writer needs to work on her voice to find the one that she's most comfortable with.

Reading can help you find out the kind of 'voices' that appeal to you as a reader. Do you love those light-hearted, humour-laced stories? Or do you feel comfortable with stories that explore the darker side of human nature? Perhaps you enjoy writing that has a smart, minimalistic edge? The best way to figure out what works best for you is by writing. Experiment with different styles and see what feels natural to you. Your personality, thoughts and take on different subjects will help guide you in the right direction. 

Genre is often one of the easiest ways to find your voice. If you want to write romance or horror or historical fiction then clearly you have a few templates to explore. When you bring your stories to that template, you begin the process of tweaking it by adding elements of your own style to it.

Plot structure and character development are often great tools in developing your unique voice. There are writers whose narrative style is distinctive because of the way their stories unfold. Use of flashbacks and flash forwards - will add your stamp to it. Even if you switch genres - your narrative style is unlikely to alter in a huge way. Though your tone may be different - for instance, the tone for a rom-com will be different from that of a romantic suspense - there are many storytelling elements that will have your own unique stamp when you're writing in either of these genres. To illustrate, if humour is your forte, it would inevitably find its way into your story - through character dialogue or description even if you're not writing a comedy.

First Person narrations are a great way to establish your personal signature on your writing. The reader reads the story from the point of view of the Protagonist -- and the writer can easily project her unique take through the voice of the protagonist. It's little wonder then that some of the most distinctive writer's voices are to be found when they are written in the first person.  In film, this generally takes the form of a narrator/voiceover. 

Different voices It's often practical to adopt different voices for different types of writing. When writing a blog, you would adopt a style that is different from the one you use when you write fiction. But it's always good to be consistent with whatever voice you use. 

I hope you find this post useful. Do share your thoughts and observations in the comment box. Happy Writing!


  1. Fab write, Adite. I'm still looking, but the humorous voice insists on being front and centre

    1. Thanks for reading, Reet. You can't go wrong with the humorous voice! :)


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