Writing Do’s and Don’ts: All About Voice

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All About Voice

Voice can be a confusing aspect of writing to explain. Some of you may be wondering what “voice” means when it comes to writing. According to Grammar Girl, voice is “the distinct personality, style, or point of view of a piece of writing or any other creative work.” Basically, voice is how an author makes a story theirs through the way they write. Think of music and how the same song sounds different when another artist does a cover of it.

Voice is important for many reasons, but the biggest is attracting and keeping your readers. After all, if a reader doesn’t like your writing style, they probably won’t want to keep reading your book.
For more tips about voice, check out Grammar Girl’s post on it here. I’m going to highlight the key points on the Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to using your writing voice:

Picture Source: sodahead.com
Picture Source: sodahead.com

DO:

1. Decide which voice you want to write in. You can use active or passive voice.

Active voice indicates that the subject is acting on the verb. Most writers prefer active voice because it’s more direct (and typically easier to write).

Active: The cat jumped onto the windowsill.

Passive voice is basically the opposite of active–the subject is being acted upon. Passive writing can be useful if you want to create a sense of mystery in your writing.

Passive: The windowsill was jumped onto by the cat.

2. Decide how you want your writing and your main character(s) to be perceived.

Do you want your writing to come off as humorous? Snarky? Bubbly? In many cases you will have to consider your main character(s) and their personality. Make sure it fits them, otherwise your writing will seem off.

3. Decide on your target audience.

While writing, you also need to keep your target audience in mind. If you are writing for teens, you need to make it sound like something a teenager would read. The best way to do this is to talk and befriend some teenagers, watch teen-themed shows and movies, and read popular teenage books. The same goes for if you want your audience to be adults. If your writing doesn’t match your target audience, you will have a hard time drawing a particular group in.

DON’T:

1. Write outside of your target audience.

If you don’t write toward your target audience throughout your story, you will probably lose the readers you attracted to begin with.

2. If you have different character POVS, don’t let them all sound the same.

There’s nothing more boring than characters who sound the same. Try some of the below sites for tips on making your character’s voices stand out.

http://www.superheronation.com/2011/08/31/writing-distinct-character-voices/

http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/2012/04/how-to-create-distinctive-character.html

 

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