Time and again, I see agents and editors requesting for stories with ‘distinct voice’.
Everyone has a distinct voice, even you. It’s the way you sound, the way you speak, it’s a reflection of the way you interpret and organize the world, it’s personality. Only you have your voice. I see it in your blogs, in your comments, or in your twitter.
Some people are afraid of voice, of sounding ridiculous or stupid. This fear is not helpful. It’s easy to spot the inauthentic.
When it comes to fiction, my voice usually disappears when I’m trying something new. When I try to force it out, voice abandons me, the gentle, fickle, thing! It’s only when I become comfortable in the subject matter that voice decides to come out and play.
Voice can defy grammar rules. It doesn’t always follow the rules. It likes to hide when I think about grammar, or punctuation. I’m at a loss to find it anywhere when the editing begins.
Take caution. Make sure you never edit out the heart of your tale, of what makes it yours, and yours alone.
Trust in your voice.
I’m still training mine. Maybe if I leave out a plate of cookies it will come out of hiding more often.
Do you ever struggle with voice?