Question: What is writing voice?
Susan May Warren describes a writer’s voice as personality on paper. That distills the concept, but it’s still a little abstract. Just what is personality, anyway, and how does a writer put it on paper?
Writing Voice is Personality Defined
The Free Dictionary defines personality as “The totality of qualities and traits, as of character or behavior, that are peculiar to a specific person.” Although this definition is a little simplistic, it helps by slotting personality into neat categories:
Qualities are the essence of who we are. Examples of qualities are creative, impatient, and spontaneous.
Traits are how we individually show our qualities. Examples are artistic for creative, restless for impatient, and adventurous for spontaneous.
Character is how we respond to and develop our traits based on our experiences and the teachings we embrace. Examples of characteristics are imaginative for artistic, decisive for restless, and courageous for adventurous.
Behavior is how we act out upon our qualities, traits, and characteristics. Examples of behavior might be writing a novel for the creative/artistic/imaginative, starting a business for the impatient/restless/decisive, and climbing a mountain for the spontaneous/adventurous/courageous.
Writing Voice is Putting Personality on Paper
So how do you distill the essence of you into the stories you write? Apart from the topics you choose to write about (which should be informed by who you and your audience are), this is truly not something you can manipulate. The beauty of this is that it’s effortless on your part. There are some things that may hinder the process, though.
- Copying another writer’s success won’t usually gain your own and can delay the process of developing your own voice.
- Writing something you normally wouldn’t for money over love can detour you and lead to writer’s block.
- Trying too hard to pin down your writing voice can lead to your losing confidence.
Catch the post about finding your writing voice:
This question first appeared on Quora.
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©2014 by Janalyn Voigt