A trick you have to master, based on the books you enjoy, the genres you read, your creative ideas, and the X-Factor of inspiration, is to find your “voice.”
In a literary context, “voice” seems an inappropriate word. But if your writing is to take wings, it must come across as yours.
But what is it? Well, it’s more than the stylistic differences between a Jane Austen and an Ernest Hemingway. Both were brilliant writers, but with very different styles.
Each, however, had something to say and a unique way of saying it. Both were writers of such fluency that their writing is a pleasure to read.
Finding that voice can be easy or hard; we instinctively understand how important voice is, but many writers will spend years trying to find it – and being endlessly buffeted by conflicting advice.
Yes, listen to the criticism of others, but don’t be deflected in your search for a voice. Have something to say, and make it yours.
A good way to find a voice that’s right for you is to think back to the books you’ve most enjoyed. What was it about them that you particularly liked? What was it about the writing?
But don’t ever try to be anything other than yourself. Write in a style you’re comfortable with. Write clearly and concisely. Use language as you would naturally use.
Above all, don’t try to copy a writer that you admire. Yes, absorb by osmosis everything they’re written, but don’t become an imitation of them. Believe me, it won’t work.
They’re intended to give you the confidence and skills to understand what makes great writing.
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