Tag Archives: Voice

Toolbox 20: Say, what?

This post was written for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop where we share our new discoveries on the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, and blogging tips. Posted every third Wednesday of the month. For rules and sign-up click here.


Does anyone else have trouble finding/sharing/maintaining a narrative voice?

It’s supposed to be familiar. Similar to our speaking voice.

Easily recognized by tone, phrasing, and specific word choices.

Some might recognize our voice by the abundance of profanity—think Margo in The Magicians—or lack of it. Professor McGonagall, I’m talking about you. We may get louder the closer to heart we are, or in some cases quieter.

We might color our language with our own kind of slang. I’m thinking TV’s Buffy and Firefly. Joss Whedon was a master. Some people still use the term ‘Scooby Gang’.

Unless they’re doing a Lemony Snicket, the writer shares as much about their likes and dislikes as the characters. Examples: Love of Scooby Doo, or the colorful addition of human or fairy anatomy.

Whether we mean to or not, our voices can add our assumptions and prejudices. Personal perceptions can be in every descriptor. Pet peeves or favorite outlooks influence our themes. Not intentionally but naturally. The words flow from our fingers like magic because we see the world uniquely and we feel the inner need to share what we believe in.

We feel. We color. We decorate our work.

And it is glorious!

Don’t edit it out. It may bring on feelings of insecurity, a need to pull back, or worry about going too far. It’s natural because if the voice is too close to home, we feel vulnerable.

With our voice out there for everyone to read, it could be criticized. Takes bravery to put our work out there as it is.

It’s hard to stick to our decision when we seek out feedback.

But should their opinions or our inner editor squash the nuance of voice? What would Joss say to that?

“What! No Scooby Gang.”

We may choose not to be the next Joss, or Lemony. Many authors use a more neutral voice. That’s fine too. Whatever works.

You want to use your own voice? Then give yourself the freedom to say it how you see it.

Any other voices out there? How about books on the subject? Feel free to share.

Gleaned from:

Submitting Without Fear

Rejection is subjective.

Rejection is part of the craft of writing.

Rejection hurts.

I’ve lost two contests and I’m going for my third.

My question is, how do I submit as if I haven’t been rejected? How do I write my best work without being afraid I’ll fail again?

sk-on-writingThe answer for me was going back to the beginning. To refresh my memory of why I am here and why I am doing such a silly thing like submitting at all.

The first book I read was Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

Here’s a quote:

“The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story … to make him/her forget, whenever possible, that he/she is reading a story at all. The single-sentence paragraph more closely resembles talk than writing, and that’s good. Writing is seduction. Good talk is part of seduction. If not so, why do so many couples who start the evening at dinner wind up in bed?”

I’ve not thought of myself as a seductress for a while now. But I’ve heard it’s like riding a bike. This round I think I’ll use my purple pen to polish my entry.

Wish me luck. I hope you beta readers are ready. I’m days away from sending it out.

Readers: What do you do when you need to find your writing magic?

Revision 3: Your Special Touch

We are getting close to the end of this series. It’s mostly adding the final touches to an almost perfect work. This is where the wordsmith really shines. Take a look.

You may also like: Part One & Part two

Your Voice. Let it Ring True

Your voice is a huge, and I mean huge, selling point.

The way you choose to group your words together is your voice or style. The crooner-154620same style a woman uses when she goes out, and wants to make a lasting impression. What does she wear? A large cardigan two sizes too big? Curlers or face cream? A skirted suit? These do leave an impression. How about showing off their best features?

Your style will leave a lasting impression too. So no matter how you say it. Say what you mean. Make sure the meaning is clear. Create atmosphere, tone, and undercurrents with that word choice, for there is power there.

Because Writing Style is Subjective:

Choose your words carefully, simply, and with your reader in mind. Unwanted connotations, using too many pronouns, jargon, technical terms, or slang might confuse your reader.

An inner drive might force you to sit everyday and write, but what good is it if the reader doesn’t understand what you are saying.

Grammar, Punctuation, Spelling

Grammar must never steal your voice. At the same time who can tolerate spelling errors, and bad punctuation? If you don’t have a grammar Nazi in your eyes-705422life or the money for an editor, do the best you can.

Keep an Eye Out For:

1. Active sentences
2. A consistence tense
3. Only a paragraph or two to describe a person, place, or thing
4. Character tags and concrete senses
5. Varying length, and structure of your sentences
6. Clarity over slang, clichés, and wordiness

Never, and I mean Never, submit without running your hard work by your beta readers. They will see the things you can’t. Ask them questions. Take what they suggest to heart, but don’t change your work until you’ve thought how the change will affect what you’ve envisioned. When you submit, repetitive feedback from publishers/agents cannot be ignored.

Writers: Do you do anything special to get your voice to show on the page? Any specific questions you ask your betas?

Book Bloggers: Is there anything you wish the writer would ask their beta readers? A pet peeve that you’d love to see addressed?

Gleaned from:
http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/revising-drafts , http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/word-choice , http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/reorganizing-drafts