I’m so confused. Everything I’ve read about being a writer talks about finding your voice. I’ve never really understood what that means.
Someone told me that publishers and editors are looking for writers who have a distinctive voice. I was once told that I have a distinctive voice. But I was talking on the telephone to the person who said that.
So what, then, is voice when it comes to writing? I’ve read that finding your writing voice can be a struggle, whether you’re writing a novel, short story, flash fiction, or a blog post. No shit, Sherlock.
Your writer’s voice is supposed to be something that is uniquely your own. But what does that really mean? What the hell is writer’s voice? And how can you find something when you’re not even sure what it is?
Is it your style of writing? Is it your tone? Or is voice something else entirely?
According to one article I came upon, “voice is not only a unique way of putting words together, but a unique sensibility, a distinctive way of looking at the world, an outlook that enriches a writer’s oeuvre.”
I’m sorry, but that didn’t help at all. “A writer’s oeuvre”? Seriously?
Another article said that “your tone, choice of words, choice of content, and even punctuation make up your authorial voice.”
But some articles I read suggested that voice, tone, and style are entirely separate elements.
“Voice and tone reflect your attitude about your subject and your readers. Voice is who the readers hear talking in your writing, and tone is the way in which you are doing the writing. The tone of your writing can vary with the situation, while the voice — the essential, individual thoughts and expression — is still your own.”
And what about style? “Style is a technical term for the effect a writer can create through attitude, language, and the mechanics of writing.” The writer’s style is based on choices about diction, syntax/sentence structure, detail, dialogue, literary devices, and rhythm. Does the writer use simple language or complex language? Is the language concrete or abstract?
So it seems to me that a writer’s voice may be based upon elements such as word choice, sentence patterns, subject matter, and attitude.
Well, I’m sorry. Even after reading all of these articles, I still don’t get what voice is. I understand style. I get what tone is. But voice? Uh uh.
I guess it’s good that I don’t fancy myself to be a real writer. Or maybe I am a writer, but with a perpetual case of laryngitis.