If there is a Holy Grail in writing, I would say it’s finding one’s Voice.
So why is it so elusive?
Well, for one thing, it’s not something you can really describe, yet it’s something you MUST have to establish yourself as a writer—Um, huh?
Much like the often-tossed-around term “High Concept” (which I am STILL not entirely sure I get, by the way) “Voice” can overwhelm and intimidate, terrify and inspire awe.
A: What is it, anyway???
And B: How long will it take me to find it??
Answer: No one can really tell you.
(See what we mean?! Ack!!)
Yesterday, Deb Joanne challenged us to come up with a possible definition of voice during this week while we discuss the subject so I thought I’d give it a whirl. (This is after all a dance floor, right?)
To me, voice is what makes my writing uniquely mine. It doesn’t mean the subject matter as much as the way I express it. It is the way I pace and plot; the way I have my characters think, the things I say and sometimes more importantly, the things I don’t. It is a tone, a mood, an emotional setting.
As for how long it takes to find it? That depends. For me, it took a long time. It took writing many, many manuscripts—and in many different genres—before I felt as if my words flowed in a way that I could comfortably, safely call “my voice.” The journey—not unlike the journey to publication—will be different for everyone.
Is there a way to hasten the process? I’m afraid not. Since voice must be something authentic, it comes when it comes. I know the writers whose voices move me, inspire me and leave me breathless with admiration. But that voice belongs to them alone, and can’t be duplicated (and who would dare try?!) Instead, trust that as you write, as you plot, as you develop your characters and your pacing, your voice will reveal itself.
And before you know it, you will have discovered the elusive thing that still defies definition.
(Just don’t tell Indy.)
So now it’s your turn, friends…How would YOU describe “voice” in what you read and/or write?