Voice and the need to fine tune it

In a recent Funds for Writers post, Hope Clark stresses the need for a writer to be unique. “The more someone else can write your piece, the less valuable it is,” she said.

That’s why writers need to establish and fine-tune their writer’s voice, the cadence and word usage that defines them just as surely as a friend’s voice on a telephone that your recognize before they say who they are.

Not you? Then don’t try to sound like her.

When I write a story, I am very much fact based. That’s my nature and research enhances it. I also hear the “song” of the words on the page, the songs that transforms the facts into magic and/or meanings that transform the facts into something more important than data.

As Clark suggests, anyone can write the piece your considering. But you don’t want to sound like just anyone. Careful research a a unique voice take you out of the “just anyone” category.

Personally, I don’t think voice and or should be faked. Like a bad spy who can’t keep his/her cover story straight, you’ll slip sooner ot later because the your voice isn’t you. It has to come from the way you think and see the world, how you tend to express yourself, and seeing the parts of the story or feature article that stand out as the most meaningful.

Obviously, voice gets out of hand from time too time. That is to say, you pushed the envelope too far. That’s probably why the rejection slip showed up! So, if your voice rides on the edge of insanity, you need to rein it in and not sound totally crazy. “Crazy” is for blogs like this one, not the Atlantic or Publishers Weekly.

So there it is. When you sing, stop trying to sound like Elvis or Emmylou Harris. Find out who you are, and be that person in your writing.

Malcolm