Friday, April 25, 2014

Suggestions for Writers - Part III


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,
SR
www.sylvainreynard.com

PS. Good news is coming your way about my new book, "The Raven." Stay tuned. There may even be a surprise ...

6 comments :

  1. I was so happy to see your post this morning.I missed them, but know you have a million things to do. I never gave it much thought before because I find that I'm influenced by every book I read. I want to write with emotion and make my reader care about my characters.Are there books that teach or suggest ways of finding one's voice? Showing and not telling was always emphasized in my writing groups as well as staying away from passive sentences, however, they never spoke about individual voices. I fully understand where you're coming from. Would that be a form of plagiarism? Thanks again for taking time out of your busy day to share your expertise. You do have a unique voice, and it has captivated us all. I'm glad we're getting closer to hearing news about "The Raven" ;)xo

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    1. Ellie, which books on voice have you sampled? Are you finding them helpful?

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  3. I think everyone has their own style, and certain people can only read certain styles. There is so much in the air when it comes to what an agent/publisher likes...genre, story, voice, etc... But I adore this little pep talk. It gives me hope.

    Thanks!

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  4. Loved your post and I appreciate you encouraging young writers to write in their own singular voice and not to lose their individuality.
    "Be You and Write in Your Own Voice" :)

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