One of the trickiest—and most important—parts of writing is capturing a voice. If you don’t have one, the reader might as well be reading a text book. It’s dry, it’s uninteresting and they are oh so aware of the fact that they are reading.
What is “voice”? Voice is what you write so the reader will read it a certain way. Confused? Yes, me too, and I’m the one who wrote it.
Voice isn’t necessarily the voice of the character (although that’s important too) or the narrator. It’s more like why the narrator reads it that way. Okay, let’s go look at a book that absolutely drips with voice, PUSH, by Sapphire. The language is harsh, the spelling often in error, the grammar completely off. But it really feels like you’re there with Precious, listening to her. It helps that it’s a first person book, but third person can also have wonderfully evocative narrators. Ever read THE PRINCESS BRIDE? The Lord of the Rings Series also does it beautifully.
I follow a lot of agents and almost every single one has said that voice is the most important thing when they read a manuscript. And while you can shape and enhance it, voice is not something that is easy to just create.
What’s my voice? Kind of sarcastic. Clipped. Full of “holy crap, am I going to die?” anxiety with a touch of “how the hell did this happen?” At least, that’s what I’m trying for and it sounds that way when I read it aloud. Readers might have a different view. It’s a little hard to judge your own voice.
Tell me: what is your voice like? Do you have any tricks for cultivating it?