Finding your voice is an answer to the question “Who is your reader?” Is this person looking for something serious, suspenseful, authoritative, humorous, spiritual, entertaining, dark, deep, light-hearted, or something else, that you may find parallels a category on the booksellers’ shelves. Regardless of the central thread, your voice is uniquely you.
It’s ironic how your author’s voice is discerned by those who know you well. When you talk to close friends and family and tell them about your book, your author’s voice takes over. It’s a great way to discover what it is, if you’re struggling to pin it down.
Most of us already have a voice, though it may vary slightly based on the books we write.
I know my author’s voice well by now and whether I’m writing a business book, suspense-filled fiction, or even something for children, humor will be there. My dark and stormy protagonist will have a few snide quips, toss out a few humorous self-deprecating comments, and even crack jokes in the heat of the moment. It’s what I do, and so there it is. I’ve been a storyteller since I’ve been a young child, and on to running a business and delivering keynote speeches to audiences, trust me, those ‘ha-ha’ anecdotes and jocular author’s voice always pop out. Have you read any of my blogs?
Finding your author’s voice is not an arduous process. It’s a combination of who you are, what you like to read, and how you string together a paragraph. It’s in there. But it’s also more than your tone. It’s your writing style, your unique approach to crafting a book. It’s your narrative and character’s voice, your sentence structure, your word choice, and how you relate what you visualize in your mind to the reader. You can tell this ‘style,’ or ‘voice,’ when you read two different types of books by the same author.
For example, Jerry Jenkins writes both fiction and non-fiction, and his straightforward, strong, authoritative voice always shines through. You can tell this is a writer with years of experience and talent for his craft.
You want the reader to say, I feel like this author gets me. They’re writing just for me.