Voice is something that is incredibly important in writing. Whether we write fiction or non-fiction, voice is what defines our writing.
Now, I have always had a hard time developing a compelling voice. My natural writing voice is analytical and very blunt.* My voice did well throughout college and became more set-in-stone and I am good at it. But this isn’t the best voice for writing fiction. Readers want some level of mystery, and a blunt analysis of the plot provides no mystery. My first couple of drafts were written in my natural voice and my main characters knew pretty much everything that I did fairly early in the story. As I redrafted, I focused on shaping a second voice – my Fiction Voice.
Well, my Fiction Voice was definitely a step in the right direction, but it felt aloof. Quest for Salvation is in the first person, and this new voice felt more third-person than anything else. That would be great, if I were writing that way. But I’m not and so I had to continue to develop my MC’s voice.
Lacey, my protagonist and narrator for Quest for Salvation, has a voice that is so much different from mine that it is sometimes a struggle to keep writing her way. I would never be able to write in her voice if I didn’t know her as well as I do, and yet sometimes I still think I have to know her better. After all, I have to know her better than myself, or my own voice will bleed into hers. Keeping in her voice was the hardest part of draft five, and I am sure there are places that still sound a little bit more like me than her.
Practice is what has gotten me to this point, and practice is what will carry me forward in my journey to keeping in character-voice. It’s a struggle, but it’s worth it.
How many voices do you have? How do you develop those voices?
Take care, fellow travelers.
*Maybe that’s because, as an introvert, I despise small-talk and prefer to get right to the point, leaving all the fluff behind.