Just as the fingerprints of any two people are different, so too is voice in creative writing. ‘Voice’ can make or break a piece of work. We’re not talking about spoken voice but in a way, we are: if you read a piece of prose out loud it would sound different to the same piece of prose read aloud by someone else. That’s how distinctive voice can be in writing. The idea is to find yours and make it compelling.
Voice refers to the unique style, tone, and perspective that an author uses to convey their message. It is the distinct personality that comes through in the writing and can help establish a connection with the reader. So what is the role of voice, why is it important, and how it can be developed?
Why is Voice Important in Creative Writing?
The use of voice in creative writing is crucial for several reasons.
Firstly, it allows an author to differentiate their work from others. Voice can help to establish a unique brand for a writer and make their work easily recognizable. For example, consider the distinct voice of Hunter S. Thompson, with his wild, stream-of-consciousness style, or the measured and poetic voice of Maya Angelou.
Secondly, voice can help to establish a connection with the reader. When a writer uses their voice to express their ideas, emotions, and beliefs, it can create a sense of intimacy with the reader. The reader can feel as though they are experiencing the author’s thoughts and feelings directly, creating a deeper level of engagement with the work.
Finally, voice can help to make the writing more memorable. When a writer uses a unique and memorable voice, it can stick in the reader’s mind long after they have finished reading. This can help to create a lasting impression and ensure that the work is remembered and discussed for years to come. It’s often ‘voice’ that leads us to read a particular author’s work every time they publish something new.
How to Develop Voice in Creative Writing?
Developing a strong and unique voice in creative writing is not always easy, but it is possible … with practice and dedication. Here are some tips for developing your voice as a writer:
- Read widely: Reading widely is fundamental to developing your voice. By reading different genres, styles, and authors, you can get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. This can help you to find your own voice by borrowing elements from different writers and combining them in your unique way. For example do you prefer writing that’s in first-person POV, do you prefer literary sentences or short sharp sentences, do you like descriptive passages or to use your imagination with sketchy hints?
- Write regularly: Writing regularly is key to developing your voice. The more you write, the more comfortable you will become with expressing yourself on the page. This can help you to find your natural rhythm and tone as a writer.
- Experiment with different styles: Experimenting with different styles and genres can help you to find your voice. Try writing in different voices, tones, and styles to see what feels most natural and effective for you. Copy passages of writing from your favourite authors to get a sense of how voice works for them.
- Write from personal experience: Writing from personal experience can help you to find your voice by tapping into your unique perspective and emotions. This can create a sense of authenticity in your writing that readers will appreciate.
- Edit and revise: Editing and revising your work is crucial for developing your voice. By refining your writing, you can find the right tone, style, and voice that works for you.
Voice is one of those elements of writing that can help differentiate your work, establish a connection with readers, and make your writing memorable. Developing your voice as a writer takes time and effort, but by reading widely, writing regularly, experimenting with different styles, writing from personal experience, and editing and revising your work, you can find your unique voice and create work that resonates with readers.
Every writer has a voice.
Time to find yours?