Finding Your Writer’s Voice

Random Picture Alert — This was too cute not to share. And even the baby and cat have a voice. 🙂

Before I jump into covering the header’s topic, stay tuned, for at the end of this post, I’ll be announcing the winner of my draw in last week’s blog hop. Thank you so much if you commented, or took the time to “like” my facebook author page or sign up to receive my blog via email. I loved that. And lastly *jumping up and down with excitement* for those who bought PROTECTOR in its opening few days–Wow! I’m beyond thrilled you did. It’s the most amazing experience to have my debut novel release–it means the world to me that you’ve joined me for this ride.

And in case you missed PROTECTOR’s January 7th release date book links, here they are for your complete convenience. 🙂 Yeah, no problem. I don’t mind sharing them again.

BUY THE BOOK: Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / iTunes / Lyrical Press / Kobo.

Okay, it’s time to get back to the serious business of this post. How do we find our writer’s voice?

Having entered a few writing competitions during 2010 and 2011, I heard the organizers of them say time and time again, “We want to see new talent. We want to hear your writer’s voice. We want you to be unique. We don’t want another … We have her/his books. If you’re entering our competition, we want your submission to offer us something we haven’t seen before.”

After entering and receiving the standard no letter, I began to wonder what is this uniqueness they want? I thought my submission was one-of-a-kind. My voice hasn’t been heard before. Yep, and at times I even questioned if they’d read my submission at all? (Yes, haven’t all writers done that? Nod if you agree.)

So how does one find their writer’s voice?

Ahh, let me share the secret. Here’s the answer–and it’s so simple. One’s writing voice is easiest found when it’s closest to how you would normally speak.

That’s right, your writing will be far more believable if you allow it to flow as if talking in your own voice. To expand on this, when speaking to your friends, do you occasionally interrupt each other? Do your sentences trail away at certain times? As I writer, I often find myself listening to others, hearing exactly how they speak and taking note of it. As writers, we never stop learning.

Here’s an example of what the wonderful author, Maeve Binchy, once said of her writing secret in finding her voice.

“I don’t say I was proceeding down a thoroughfare, I say I walked down the road. I don’t say I passed a hallowed institute of learning, I say I passed a school.”

What she’s saying is if we allow our writing to turn too fancy, it can become stilted. Her secret was to keep it simple and closest to how she would normally speak.

To give you a taste of my writer’s voice (because I find it’s important to add a showing to my posts), here are a few lines from my latest WIP titled “Witness Pursuit,” one which I sent away for submission two weeks ago. To set the scene, my heroine is in the Witness Protection Program and standing beside her bodyguard at a marina, readying to board a super-yacht. She doesn’t want to leave the country and the security of her safe-house.

“That is one massive super-yacht–and one I shouldn’t be on.”

Lydia crossed her arms, eyeing the four levels of darkened glass and sleek white panels, the luxury ship sitting proud in its private berth at Auckland marina’s gated wharf. The ship was close to 150 feet long, the area above the captain’s bridge at the top holding a communication platform with duel antennas spiking a further fifteen feet high. And was that a pool? Her eyes narrowed into slits. Yes, it was. All the comforts one could ever desire, except she shouldn’t be here.

“Ben.” She swung around, her sight targeted on her bodyguard, the one she’d lived with for the past year.

He scanned the marina. “Don’t say it. You’re getting on that ship and working as a caregiver. That’s your new cover.”

Digging her nails into her palms, she considered a tactical response. “Tyler Whitehall will throw me off his ship, or he would if he remembered me. What happens if he does?”

“He’ll have to dive in to rescue you.” The corners of his lips lifted, then straightened. “Tyler’s one of the best bodyguards in the business. He saved your life last year, and even though his memory loss is permanent from those few weeks, I still need to place you somewhere safe and away from home shores. Tyler’s ship is my choice.”

I hope you enjoyed that little snippet–and to this manuscript I’ve submitted, I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. It’s always a nerve-wracking time waiting to hear back.

Okay, it’s time to announce the winner of my blog hop’s draw. For those who left a comment WITH THEIR EMAIL ADDRESS, I used random.org to draw a name for a chance to win an ebook copy of PROTECTOR. That winner is:

*** Missie Jones ***

Hey, congratulations, Missie. I have your email, so I’ll be making contact with you today to send you your prize.

The Grand Prize winners will be posted later today on Carrie Ann Ryan’s Blog Hop Page HERE, and they’ll be notified via email of their win. Carrie Ann did a great job organizing for all of us. I hope everyone had fun. I certainly loved my first hop!

Thanks for dropping by to see me this week. Take care and remain safe. Catch ya all later.

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PROTECTOR–BUY THE BOOK: Amazon Kindle / B&N Nook / iTunes / Lyrical Press / Kobo.

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13 thoughts on “Finding Your Writer’s Voice

  1. Great snippet!! Finding my writer’s voice was very hard for me. It took me a few years to finally accept it and let it flow. Great post!! And I’m so glad you found yours too 🙂

  2. You’ve totally sold me on Witness Pursuit! Hope it’s published soon!
    Love the advise too, I’m pretty comfortable with my voice–or, I am when I don’t fight it.
    Loved the pic too.

  3. Great post and ideas. I think it can be intimidating to find your own voice because of the fear that it is not the “right” one. But it can only be right if it is true to yourself.
    –JW

  4. Once again a great article! Thanks Joanne! I come from acting and a multi-national back ground so I’ll drop into fancy prose (in acting we call it ‘High-diction’) or slang. For narration what do you suggest? 🙂

    1. I loved this question, Noelle. If the fancy prose is relevant to the character (as in how she/he would speak) then you’d use it. Ie, a prince/princess speaks quite differently to me. The prince/princess’ dialogue is going to be more refined. Same goes for a highlander book, where the Scottish speak with a burr. Your character’s dialogue should reflect them, but within it all, you still need to keep your own personal writer’s voice flowing. 🙂

  5. Hi Joanne,

    I loved your post and completely agree with your advice. I was in theatre in high school and college and found that another thing that works (for me) is to act the part I am writing. I doubt most people would do this unless they had acting in their background. It helps me feel the emotion from a scene and then move those emotions to the page (after I get over feeling silly doing a one-woman play for no audience LOL!) But you’re so right about being yourself when you write so as to not sound pretentious or stilted. Thank you for another pearl of wisdom to add to the treasure chest of jewels I have collected from your wonderful blogs 🙂

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