Finding Your Writer’s Voice
by Patti Larsen
I remember being told, back in the days I first thought I wanted to write for a living, I needed to find my “writer’s voice”. Teachers, professors, other writers, all insisted finding that voice, my unique way of writing, was paramount to success.
The only trouble was, none of them could ever really articulate to me exactly what “writer’s voice” meant. Yes, I was told it would come out of my style, once my skills reached a certain level. But no one seemed to be able to explain to me in specific terms what I was looking for.
Frustrating? You bet. I spent years trying to figure it out, stumbling through my own prose, writing short stories, fan fiction, my first book. Outlining, graduating from journalism, screenwriting, acting, writing songs… and always, the elusive “writer’s voice” haunted me.
Until, one day, I realized something. Had an epiphany as I emerged from another world and the mind of a teenager back into my own. I finally knew what my teachers and others were talking about. In a flash of inspiration, I understood I’d been hearing my writer’s voice all along.
In the voices of my characters.
The “ah-ha!” moment made me laugh out loud. And gave me a very clear answer to the question when I’m asked about writer’s voice myself.
Writer’s voice literally comes from the people we write about. Honing my skills was important because it allows me to listen, rather than think, when I’m writing. I no longer have to ponder my grammar use, my turn of phrase—those skills have become automatic, leaving me open to paying attention. The writing then becomes the job of the voice—I’m just a conduit now through which that voice emerges.
So, the next time someone asks you to find your writer’s voice, you’ll know exactly what to do. Hone your writing skills.
About Patti Larsen: You’re not looking for my polished bio, huh? You sure you want more? The real dirty, down deep, nitty gritty? Fair enough. Here goes: I’m a card-carrying nerd. It’s taken years to admit it. I’m also a hermit in a writing basement who prefers solitude to people (cats always welcome). I’m a writing fiend who hears the voices of teenagers and blushes at the S-E-X parts. I don’t sleep very well. Ever. My mind is too busy. I am a feline loving married woman who could easily end up a crazy cat lady if my husband would let me. I am a paradigm shifter, a believer in self and my own personal power. I see everything in black and white until the gray is explained to me. I am a fiercely loyal friend, a confidant and a Tarot card reader and intuitive. I am a proud roller derby girl, a total dweeb and can’t dance to save my soul. I am terrified of heights and challenge that fear every chance I get. Oh, and I’m the Creator. The Queen of my own Destiny. I love that.
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Genre – YA Urban Fantasy
Rating – PG