What is Writer’s Voice?

(Re-post) Several people have asked me about “voice” lately. I’ll barely be able to scratch the surface because it’s a big topic, but let’s get started. What do we mean when we say we’re looking for “new voices”? What do editors mean when they say it’s the writer’s voice that captures them—or doesn’t? Let’s start by identifying a few things voice isn’t. Voice is not style. It’s not technique. It’s not branding. It’s not a decision to write in first or third person. So what is it? To me, your writer’s voice is the expression of YOU on the page. It’s that simple—and that complicated. Your voice is all about honesty. It’s the unfettered, non-derivative, unique conglomeration...
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Craft, Story and Voice

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/S3DXmvBQoeI/AAAAAAAADjc/0MFBT82qmbQ/s320/typewriter.jpg One of the most common things I hear from writers lately is, “You’ve told us a lot about what makes you say no to a book. Now tell us what makes you say yes.” So yesterday I wrote that I love when I can sense the writing is authentic and true. Today I want to take it further and identify three basic things that are immediately apparent to agents and editors when we read and evaluate your work, and they make the difference between yes and no. Craft.. . . . .Story.. . . . . . . . . . Voice. Of course, the elements are intertwined, but it’s helpful to artificially separate them in order to understand why a book is either working—or not. Craft refers to the mechanics of fiction: plot, characterization, dialogue, pacing, flow, scene-crafting, dramatic structure,...
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Guest Blogger: Heather Goodman

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/SszQ2F5h-GI/AAAAAAAADK8/da-R7AZV25Q/s320/HeatherGoodman.jpg Finding Your Voice A Musician Looks at WritingMy favorite car game: name that tune. I flip to the classical station, and if I recognize the piece, I have to identify the title and composer (if there’s a soloist, I give myself bonus points for naming him or her as well). But if I don’t recognize the piece, ah, therein lies the fun. Using what I know about composers, their styles, time periods, and idiosyncrasies, I have to figure out the composer before the DJ announces him. Of course, there’s no one else in the car to share my victory (which I celebrate in seated dance). We do this all the time: “Is this Sting? It sounds like Sting.” (Or Sinatra or the Beatles or Jason Mraz.) As a musician, understanding the idea of voice in writing came to me via music. Just...
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The Writer’s Voice

Last Thursday’s post asking for questions gave me a few weeks’ worth of headaches post ideas—thanks for being so generous! I’ll try to get to as many as I can. Several people asked about “voice” and I was planning to write about it soon anyway, so let’s tackle this one first. I’ll barely be able to scratch the surface today. It’s a big topic and I’m sure we’ll discuss it more than once. But let’s get started. What do we mean when we say we’re looking for “new voices”? What do editors mean when they say it’s the writer’s voice that captures them—or doesn’t? Let’s start by identifying a few things voice isn’t. Voice is not style. It’s not technique. It’s not...
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