This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
But what is it? An author's voice is like a thumbprint. It's a unique combination of tone, word choice, style, and theme, which marks their writing as their own. It's that thing which shines through, independent of the characters or storyline, and it’s the way you can tell you’re reading a Stephen King or a Marian Keyes without looking at the front cover.
A strong voice is top of the wish-list for many agents and editors because they know that once a reader has fallen in love with an author's voice, they’re likely to become a devoted reader of that author’s work.
When you’re starting out, this pressure to develop your own voice can be daunting, but it really shouldn’t be. You don’t need to worry about finding your voice – you already have it. I promise.
Don’t worry if you feel your writing sounds too much like your favourite authors – everyone starts out emulating their heroes and it’s a brilliant way to learn your craft. All you have to do is write lots and lots (which is the only bit of writing advice that is universal and non-negotiable) and you won't be able to prevent your own voice from shining through.
Personally, I think the hardest thing isn’t finding your voice, it’s allowing your voice to be heard.
There’s a real fear that comes with using our own voices, a fear of exposing too much of ourselves. This fear can be useful, though, as a signpost. When you start feeling that anxiety, you're probably travelling in the right direction.
The bottom line is that the more you write, the more your voice will come through, and the more you can face your fears and write with authenticity, the better your writing will be.
Letting your voice come through isn’t always easy and it takes confidence but, as the great Neil Gaiman said:
“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like.”
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