An author’s voice is an essential element in writing. Rachael Thomas tells us why.
Your writing voice is your unique way of telling your story. It will add depth to your story and allow readers to feel your personality through your writing. But what if you don’t yet know what your voice is or you feel you’ve lost it?
What is Your Writing Voice?
When you listen to someone speak, they will do so in a certain way, maybe have a particular accent or use of words. Their voice will have pitch and certain words will be favoured. This will give you an insight into that person’s character. It will let you know how they are feeling as they talk to you.
Your writing voice is the same. The way you put words on the page as well as the words you chose to use, will have a specific style and tone to it. The words your write will have a unique feel or rhythm to them and as your work is being read, whether aloud or in their heads, your writing voice will be heard by the reader.
To put it in a nutshell, your writing voice is your unique way of looking at things, your unique way of putting the words together to tell the story, even the choice of words you use. It’s your style.
Your voice needs to be completely natural and above all, to the reader it must sound genuine. If you try and force yourself into a style that’s not you, it won’t work and it will also be impossible to sustain it.
Once you have found your writing voice you will have found the key which helps to unlock your creative potential. Whether your write poetry, novels or even songs, your voice needs to inspire people and this is done by using your unique style when writing – your voice.
When you use your voice and allow it to shine you will garner dedicated fans that will be waiting for your next book, song or poem. Because of this you have to stay true to yourself, true to your voice, otherwise continually trying to be something you are not will wear you out. Not to mention lose you readers and fans.
But how do you go about finding your voice? That’s a question I asked myself many times whilst on my journey to publication. Especially when I’d been told by someone I had a nice voice. I would often wonder why they could see or hear it and I couldn’t. It was when a short sentence resonated with me that I understood it all. It’s your style.
Here are a few tips for helping you to find or rediscover your voice.
- Look more closely at what have enjoyed reading. It doesn’t matter if it’s a book, short story or even a blog. Ask yourself how they are similar to each other, or even different. Look at what made you want to read that particular piece in the first place. What drew you into to it? It is very often the case that the kind of work we admire is similar to what we aspire to be.
- Now read something you have recently written. Even better read it aloud. Does it sound like you? Is it something you would seek out to read? If the answer is yes, congratulations, you are well on the way to discovering your voice. If the answer is no, then you will probably not have allowed the real you out onto the page yet. This is something I was definitely guilty of doing as I embarked on my writing journey. I was told on one occasion, when the first chapter of my one of my stories was read by an editor, that I didn’t show up until page eight. In other words I was guilty of writing what I thought was needed, not what I felt, or wanted to write. I was silencing or stifling my voice.
- A good way to free yourself of falling into the trap of not allowing your voice to be heard is free-writing. Pick a topic at random. Anything which springs to mind and then write about it. Don’t pause for thought; don’t lift the pen from the page or stop pressing the keys. Just write. Keep it up for at least ten minutes then read it back to yourself and see if your natural writing voice shines through.
- It is essential to enjoy what you write. Although the idea of getting a certain amount of words down each day may be daunting, when you do actually write, you need to enjoy it. Above all else, you need to be writing for yourself. If you try to mimic another author it will inevitably lead you down the path of writer’s block as you run out of steam to be that person. It is so much easier and far more productive to be yourself. Write for you.
- Think of how you are feeling. What mood you are in can reflect in your writing. So if you’ve got a soft, gentle scene to write and you are feeling far from soft and gentle, then skip it for now and write for the mood you are in. Alternatively, find yourself some music to reflect the mood of the scene and have it playing in the background to influence your mood. The environment in which we write can affect the writing voice too. So if you can’t actually go to the setting you are writing, take yourself there another way. The internet is a vast and wonderful source of images and videos which can help to evoke the mood needed to allow your voice to flourish and shine.
Above all the most important thing you need to remember is that your voice needs to shine in your work and to do that you need to allow yourself to be you, writing for you and the fun of it.
What have you done to rediscover your writing voice?
The Sheikh’s Last Mistress – Harlequin Presents – April 2016
Promoted to Princess!
Destiny Richards knows she is playing with fire when she accepts charismatic Sheikh Zafir Al Asmari’s job offer, but it seems like a fair price to pay to start her life over again. Until the temperature reaches the boiling point and Destiny finds herself spending one out-of-this-world night with the sheikh!
When powerful Zafir seduces English rose Destiny, he never anticipates she’ll hold the title of his Last Mistress. But their scorching affair has shocking repercussions. Now, before their nine months are up, Zafir must convince Destiny to make their arrangement more permanent!
Bio: I grew up in the Midlands, but when I moved to Wales, over twenty years ago, I found a place to finally put down roots. I married into a farming family and embarked on a massive learning curve which also saw me learning Welsh when my two children were small.
Writing is something I have always wanted to do and I can still remember the thrill of one of my short stories being held up as an example to the class when I was about nine. It wasn’t until my own children were in school that I seriously started to pursue my dream. I joined a local writing group which met every Monday afternoon and being with like-minded people was the boost I needed.
Reading romance had always been my first love, and just about every short story I wrote was romance, so I decided to write my first book. During that process I also attended my first weekend writing course with Kate Walker and joined the RNA’s fabulous New Writers’ Scheme. A short time later I joined Romance Writers of Australia and learnt a lot from entering their competitions. I sought out courses and you can imagine my joy when I discovered Sharon Kendrick’s course in beautiful Tuscany.
Behind the Scandalous Façade, my So You Think You Can Write entry, is my thirteenth book and although only eight have those magic words ‘the end’ written on them the others are definitely part of the learning process I have enjoyed over the last six years.
I love escaping to distant shores with my characters, entering their glamorous world and feeling all the emotions they experience as they discover their love for one another. A love so strong it will overcome all obstacles eventually, leading to that promised happy ever after.
- Creating Characters Readers Will Love with Rachael Thomas
- Emotional Depth – Putting the Spark in Your Story by Rachael Thomas
- Tackling the Synopsis by Rachael Thomas
- The Art of Conflict by Rachael Thomas
- No Time for Modesty: Discovering the Genius in Your Writing with Inara Scott