Finding your voice

Posted on

A writer’s voice is a hard thing to define. It’s a combination of a whole bunch of different writing techniques, which (hopefully) gel to create a cohesive feel for the readers.
Early on in my writing days, I used to experiment with voice a lot. I would read something by an author I liked and play with words to try and evoke the same types of feelings while reading. Sometimes the stories were good, other times they were not so good, but I always had fun doing it.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more set in my ways. If you’ve read my stories in the past you may have noticed patterns – I frequently use third person point of view to tell stories from the outside (one notable exception being My Grandpa Joe, pictured above), and the way I structure sentences and use adjectives is very familiar across many stories.
Having a familiar voice to stories isn’t a bad thing at all. If you pick up a children’s book by Roald Dahl, or Mem Fox, and you have read their work before then you know whether you are likely to enjoy the style.
As a writer there is a lot of comfort in finding and becoming familiar with your own voice. While there are still many, many challenges to writing stories and making them work the way you want, when you have your voice established you at least have a place to start, a launching pad for the rest of the tale.
But, as with everything in life, you can become too complacent. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and just go with what you know works, rather than taking a chance on something new. Taking chances is the best way to keep things fresh, in writing and everything else.
So I’m setting myself a personal challenge to try some new writing techniques, to alter my voice a little in some stories.
Maybe I’ll try something fast paced and intense, like Matthew Reilly, or sharp, dark and humorous like Roald Dahl. Maybe I’ll work from reality and not give into the temptation of fantasy, as advised by Shirley Hughes.
The things I write for this challenge may never get shared here, either because they’re not good enough (likely) or they are for a different audience. But even if the stories don’t quite work, I may just find that some of the techniques do.
Rather than a new voice, I hope that this challenge will give me a new perspective on writing, and maybe some new tools to add to my kit when a story isn’t quite doing what I want.
What do you do to shake things up, in work or in life? Ever set yourself a challenge to try something new? I’d love to hear about it!
xox Chrissie

4 thoughts on “Finding your voice

  1. This is something I’ve struggled with for so long. I’m not well read at all, so most of my writing comes directly from what I have read, and a lot of the time it comes out as poorly written fan fiction.

    • Hey Mark, I think inspiration can come from any number of places. Obviously there’s something about fanfic that appeals to you, so it could be as simple as figuring out what you like about it and finding other reading material along similar lines. But really, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in some poorly written fan fiction ;-)

  2. I can’t wait to read more, Chrissie. Your post has already inspired me to explore my own voice – it’s not something I’ve ever considered before. Love your work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>