Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Find Your Voice

Have you ever connected with a book right away. I mean, from page one you were on a roll with the content and the flow of the story so much that you couldn't put down the book. You were right there in the scene or you totally understood the concepts being taught or you completely connected with the main character. In fact, you probably felt so good about the book that you felt you almost knew the author personally. Yeah, I love that! 

That is what voice can do for readers. So what is voice? When it comes to writing, voice is the attitude, personality, or point of view that comes across to readers.  It's your style, rendition, or arrangement of language and description. It might also be the trait of a main character or the narrator, but it's yours as the author. Voice impacts the cadence of your book, the emotional feel you give it, and the way readers connect with the story and with the characters. Voice can also determine your word choice, the use of punctuation (or the lack thereof), character motivation and behavior, scene and dialogue development, and the unfolding of the moral or lesson of your book.

Voice allows you to establish and build a relationship with readers, because remember, it's all about the readers. For that relationship to be most successful, you first have to know who you want to build a relationship with, meaning you must know who your ideal readers are … but that's another topic for another blog post.

As a first-time author, your writing voice might not come across in your writing naturally at first; it's something that has to be developed and perfected over time with practice, editing, and rewrites. After all, you want your voice to be consistent throughout the book and to capture the interest and imagination of readers. Although your writing voice might not reflect your everyday personality, it should be authentic, meaning that it should match the tone or mood of your book's content and subject matter. Or, your voice could actually be your alter ego, that personality that only comes out every now and then when the moon is in the right orbit and … oh wait, I digress.

Consider this, if you're writing a humorous novel about a 9-year-old boy who thinks he overhears his 18-year-old sister and her rebel boyfriend plotting to elope after their high school graduation, you don't want your main character — the 9-year-old — to sound like a 50-year-old parent offering tips and advice to the would-be newlyweds. Instead, develop a mischievous voice for the book and the boy. Fill the scenes with contemporary kid attitude, throw in some technology references, maybe use some juvenile slang, and make the pace quick. Here is a 9-year-old who has to think quick in order to save his big sis from what he thinks could be the biggest mistake of her life; or maybe it's not so bad because the boyfriend DOES drive a motorcycle and he might actually let him drive it someday as his new brother-in-law. Hmmmmm, maybe this isn't such a bad idea after all!

Do you get the point? Hear the voice?

Here are some ideas to consider for the voice of your book.
  • Humorous
  • Serious
  • Instructional
  • Edgy
  • Sassy
  • Angry
  • Flippant
  • Romantic
  • Suspicious
  • Curious
Remember, let your voice come naturally. As the song says, "If it don't fit, don't force it!"

What voice do you want to guide readers through your book?


Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of the-book Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and The Book You've Been Wanting to Write, and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success".
Facebook: Write Your Life Coaching Program
Twitter: @AnitaRPaul

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