Please welcome Jane Godman to the blog today!
“When you find your authentic voice, it’s like stepping into a comfortable pair of shoes. The rhythm and pacing of your words feel right, as if they’re meant just for you.”
We hear a lot in writing about the author’s “voice” and how important it is to ensure that it’s unique and engaging. I’ll admit it’s a concept with which I struggled in the early days of my career.
Wasn’t writing an interesting story enough? What was it that made my voice different from anyone else’s? Gradually, I came to recognize the way I brought my own personality to the page when I wrote. In the same way that I can identify the voice of my favorite authors, I can now see what makes my own writing stand out.
So what is voice? It’s the author's style, a distinctive quality that makes his or her writing unique, and which conveys the author's attitude, personality, and character to the reader.
Tone, choice of words, content, and even punctuation make up the authorial voice. It is usually fairly consistent. With some very famous authors it is even possible to identify the author by reading an excerpt of his or her work.
The following is from Charles Dickens’ famous story, A Christmas Carol.
… Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about him as any man in the city of London, even including—which is a bold word—the corporation, aldermen, and livery. Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not bestowed one thought on Marley, since his last mention of his seven-years' dead partner that afternoon. And then let any man explain to me, if he can, how it happened that Scrooge, having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker, without its undergoing any intermediate process of change—not a knocker, but Marley's face.
Some of the features that immediately identify this as a piece of Dickens’ writing are: the humorous description, the “wordiness”, and the way he talks directly to the reader (as if the reader could respond).
The writer’s main voice is the one that tells the story, but there are other voices that take a turn under the spotlight. They are, of course, the characters the author has created.
Every person has their own way of putting together words, phrases, and ideas. These elements make up that person’s voice. Some people are witty or chatty, others are stilted or curt. For each of their characters, the author must find a believable voice.
As well as being a master of the narrative voice, Dickens created memorable character voices, one of the most compelling of which was Uriah Heep from David Copperfield.
"'When I was quite a young boy,' said Uriah, 'I got to know what umbleness did, and I took to it. I ate umble pie with an appetite. I stopped at the umble point of my learning, and says I, "Hard hard!"
Heep is a nasty character who calls himself “’umble” (humble), but we get a sense from the way he talks that he is anything but.
How do you develop your writer voice?
“The best way to develop your writer’s voice is to read a lot. And write a lot. There’s really no other way to do it.”
When you’re reading, notice the writer’s voice. These writers have very distinctive, strong voices: Penelope Trunk, Erika Napoletano, Johnny B. Truant, Chuck Wendig, Chris Guillebeau
When it comes to writing, don’t be afraid to let go and experiment. What have you got to lose? Happy writing!
JANE GODMAN is a 2019 Romantic Novelists’ Award winner and 2018 Daphne du Maurier Award finalist. She writes thrillers for Harlequin Romantic Suspense/Mills and Boon Heroes and paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne/Mills and Boon Supernatural and St. Martin’s Press Romance. She also self publishes her historical and gothic stories.
Jane was born in Scotland and has lived in Germany, Wales, Malta, South Africa, and England. She still gets the urge to travel, although these days she tends to head for a Spanish beach, or a European city that is steeped in history.
When she isn’t reading or writing romance, Jane enjoys cooking, spending time with her family, and enjoying the antics of her dogs, Gravy and Vera.
Connect with Jane Godman on the web:
Colton’s Secret Bodyguard (The Coltons of Roaring Spring)
His mission: keep her safe, no matter what…
A Coltons of Roaring Springs thriller
Just as Bree Colton is about to take the local art world by storm, someone is determined to sabotage her success…unless Rylan Bennet can keep her safe. Bree doesn’t want anyone to protect her—not even gorgeous Rylan, whose secrets threaten them both. But can the former soldier win the battle for Bree’s heart and the war against a sinister foe?
Thanks so much Jane! I really enjoyed Colton's Secret Bodyguard
- great characters and a plot that kept me turning pages far into the night!! If my readers enjoy romance, suspense, and great characters, this is a fabulous read!How about you? Have you developed your author's voice? Who are some of your favourite authors who have distinctive voices? I'm currently rereading the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and am loving Tolkein's voice all over again!Source