Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday where every Wednesday I will bring you some writing tips from published authors.
Today’s writing tip is all about Voice. When you are writing a story, it is important to write in your own style, in your own voice. Everyone’s writing style is different and unique, and it’s something that comes naturally and shouldn’t be forced. It’s good to read and learn from other people’s prose, but you shouldn’t try to copy anyone else’s.
Here’s what author Veronica Roth (Divergent, Insurgent) has to say about the importance of keeping your own voice:
For a long time, I have admired beautiful, lyrical prose from a (great) distance. I used to think it was the pinnacle of good writing, a point everyone had to reach in order to be considered skilled and developed. In my creative writing classes in college I struggled toward it — I overworked each sentence until they were all cringe-worthy, either “purple,” as they say, or packed with clichés.
In one of my later attempts, though, I lapsed into my natural voice, which was considerably simpler and plainer. And on that section, my professor wrote, “This is the best writing in the piece.”
Suddenly the bells started going off in my head. Maybe other people’s writing was best when it was lyrical and poetic and ornate, but not mine. Mine was best when I was not trying so desperately hard to impress everyone.
There are all kinds of people in this world, which means there are all kinds of writers and styles of writing. We don’t have to yearn and long and pine for a different style than we have. I can improve by being more precise with my words, and by not leaning on the most obvious metaphors or similes or observations; by making my characters complicated even if their words and sentences are not; by watching for repetition and varying sentence structure– in dozens of different ways, I can become a better writer, but the important thing is, I don’t have to become a different writer.
It can be difficult to acknowledge that your voice will never sound just like your favourite authors’ voices– it won’t, and if it does, that might not be such a good thing. But acknowledging that can be the first step to figuring out how you can become the best writer you can be, with the unique perspective that you have, instead of tearing yourself down for failing to meet someone else’s standards. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from writing that’s different than ours; it just means we should embrace our own words, our own voices, our own stories.
You can check out the full article over at YA Highway:
As a side note, I originally saw this on the Ampersand Project’s Tumblr here:
The Ampersand Project is an initiative of Australian publisher Hardie Grant Egmont for unpublished authors. You can submit to them a YA manuscript of any genre and word length until February 22nd. All the details can be found on their tumblr and I believe it is open internationally. I am polishing my manuscript now and then will be sending it to them. *fingers crossed*.
Hope this helps. Happy writing.