I took my writing teacher to lunch one day and asked him if he thought my writing was any good. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "You have a wonderful voice." That made me happy, of course, but I had a lot of questions. What, exactly, is a writer's voice? How do you get it? How can you make it better?
Active writing - using the five senses, a riveting opening, showing rather than telling, good grammar - are all mechanics of writing and are necessary to be taken seriously, but your voice tells a story like no one else can. How do you learn to make it shine? A writer, like a singer, must learn how to amplify her natural voice, and make it stand out as if no other person could have possibly written it.
Deep editing can help you discover it. Some tips for the revision process:
- Find the sentences that stand out. What makes them unique?
- Mark-up phrases that are cliche or dull writing. How can you change your language to be more like #1?
- Rearrange sentences or words for a stronger impact.
- Run your ideas past a critique partner. Do they see a difference?