A few years ago, I read an interview with an editor for a major publishing house. When asked what she looks for in a new author, she replied “voice.” She went on to say that the voice of a writer was what captured her attention, perhaps even more so than the story or the technical prowess of the writer.
Finding your voice can be challenging. Your voice will be unique to you and it will include your writing style and tone, your choice of language, and a whole host of other things.
Hemingway doesn’t sound like Shakespeare. Dostoyevsky doesn’t sound like Milton. And very few writers, if any, sound like Dante.
This is a good thing. We don’t want to hear the same voice all the time. If I want to read Hemingway, I’ll do so. I don’t want every novel that I read to sound like Hemingway.
The same can be said for your writing. You can learn a great deal from writers you admire, but remember to write in your own voice. You don’t want to sound like someone else. No one but Hemingway can be Hemingway. Similarly, no one but you can be you. Embrace that fact.
Of course, there can be some variation in style and language, depending on the story you’re trying to tell and the genre in which you’re writing. I prefer to write in third person, for example, but I know that there will probably come a day when I will need to write in first person because the story requires it.
But you need to celebrate your own voice, your own uniqueness, and let that voice be heard. That’s what editors are looking for – new and unique voices.
So my suggestion to writers is this: Be You and Write in Your Own Voice. Learn from others, but don’t copy them. Find the style and tone that match the story you want to tell and let your voice develop naturally.
All the best and good luck,
PS. Good news is coming your way about my new book, “The Raven.” Stay tuned. There may even be a surprise …