Mercy Zephyr

Why should we develop voice?

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So, I have been wrestling with this for awhile, and I still haven't figured out an answer. I often hear people advise writers to find their voice, which always seems to be easier to say than do. But this leads to lots of questions... 

One, since your voice comes with practice, doesn't this just mean "write more"? Is it just natural distinctiveness that doesn't seem worthy of discussing? 

Two, how do you know when you have developed a voice? What does "having a unique writers voice" do for you? Do you have to actively wield it? Do you need to understand your own voice? Is there specific things you should do to speed the process of developing it? 

In short, why do we speak about developing our voice as being an important skill rather than an inevitable consequence? 

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Voice is simply how you write, the style you have. Read a book by one author, read another by a second, and you can see the different styles. When you know your voice you can better become aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and so potentially be more aware of how you tell a story, as it were. Voice is just your method of writing.

 

Brandon has said in the writing lectures that often you don't so much have to seek out your voice, but rather find ways to adjust it.

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I agree with the above. Just write more, and you’ll get a sense of the style you already have. Once you become comfortable with that style (and it doesn’t, for instance, change to match the style of the last book you read) you can play to your strengths and tell stories more naturally.

i don’t think it is something to specifically seek or to worry about, really. It just comes out as you write more and gain intuition of your own storytelling.

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 A lot of times new writers think they have to write a certain way or "sound like" a popular author in order to be successful.  Trying to write like someone else can be a good exercise from a technical standpoint, but trying to shoehorn yourself into boxes you don't enjoy and don't fit the way your experiences have shaped the way you see the world is not going to be productive in the long run. So, to me, "find your voice" is more about writing enough to both recognize your specific writing-related idiosyncrasies, and becoming comfortable with the way that your writing is going to be different from everyone else's writing. 

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On 31/12/2018 at 10:20 AM, Mercy Zephyr said:

In short, why do we speak about developing our voice as being an important skill rather than an inevitable consequence?

Really good question, and I think others have answered it already better than me. I think your post begs follow-up question like (a) should you try to employ or develop a different voice if you write in two different genres?; and (b) What happens to your voice when you write in different modes (1st Person, 3rd Person, etc.).

I think it would be a very interesting exercise to ask those who read your work what they think your voice is (the major facets of it), or where they think it is heading if you're still developing it.

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