My mom recently read my new release WITCH HEARTS and made a comment that got me thinking about writer’s voice. She said she gets distracted reading my books because she can hear my voice in them. She didn’t necessarily mean as the main character either, but with words, phrases, and dialogue throughout. When characters say a particular thing or react a certain way, she says, it throws her off because she can see me doing or saying those things.
While I can understand why it might be distracting for her or my friends (who have also mentioned they totally picture me as Lucy or hear me through Ruby’s sarcasm), I think I’ll take this as a good thing. That means that, while I’m still constantly working on it, that I’m on my way to finding my writer’s voice.
There’s a great article from Chuck Wendig about finding your writer’s voice that hits the nail on the head: “The writer’s voice is the thing that marks the work as a creation of that writer and that writer only. You read a thing and you say, “This could not have been written by anybody else.” That is voice.”
Finding your voice won’t happen overnight; it takes lots of time and practice to develop. My voice is getting clearer the more I write and I think readers are learning what to expect from me now that my second title is out. Sure, my tagline is “Magic. Murder. Mystery.” and readers know my novels will contain those elements, but my voice is quick and sarcastic. Characters are fairly witty, descriptions are to the point, and readers know they can get a chuckle or two out of my books (well, I hope more than two, but you get my point).
Sure, plenty of authors out there are witty in their writing. But the idea is to make it your brand of wit. While I write fantasy, I know that if I tried my hand at contemporary YA, my voice would remain the same. The overall tone of the book would still be quick-witted and straight to the point, no matter the plot or characters.
What’s your writing voice sound like? Is it sharp and witty, or flowy and romantic? Is it prose-y and descriptive or, like Hemingway, a short staccato of this, that, there, done?