Thoughts on Finding Your Voice
I recently stumbled across this article on voice while doing some research on voice and style and wow, did this resonate with me.
In the struggle to gain representation and build an internet presence in hopes of one day having a manuscript published, having a unique voice can be big concern. We writers all want to stand out in a good way (Wow, she is so original!), not in a bad way (I’ve read this before, haven’t I? It seems so familiar…) to the agents, editors, and publishers who (hopefully) read our work.
So it is quite of relief, at least for me, when the author of this article writes, “…for most folks, if you’re going to be successful, it’s best to find that your own voice is similar to the voice of someone on the prescribed list of folks who found a good voice before you.”
I feel like that one statement frees you to focus more fully on just writing what you want to write without worrying about being unique as the end-all, be-all of authorship. Not that you would intentionally copy another author’s style and voice verbatim, but if you see a literary tool that you think is particularly effective from one of your favorite writers, learn from it.
Because there really isn’t anything new under the sun, anyway. It’s very likely that anything I write has already been covered in some form or fashion by someone else, its just that I haven’t read it yet. All I know to do to improve myself as a writer is to 1). Write more (and more and more and more), and 2). Study published writers. Figure out what it is about their work that makes you want to keep reading and figure out how you can have that effect on readers as well.
And by the way, the guy that wrote the article, Noah Berlatsky? If this article is any indication I think I could learn a few things about style and voice from him.