What Exactly is Good Writing Voice?


It’s one of the most difficult areas of writing to determine, mainly because author voice will have varied definitions depending on the source you use for reference. As a result, it’s one of the more convoluted areas to find a truly clear answer.

There was a great article in the New Yorker that looked at different authors and how their author voice found its way into the reader’s head. Their voices create a unique experience that the reader came to expect in diving into other narratives from the same author.

Elizabeth Spann Craig had a great guest post from J.J. Hensley that provided three tips that worked for Hensley specifically. You can certainly interpret it as you wish.

Malcom R. Campbell put it best when describing author voice, it needs to be a reflection of who you are as a person. His best point comes in talking about what not to do. And I quote: “If an author admires Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, the last thing s/he needs to do is try to write like either of them. At best, we end up with a parody.”

What better way is there to say that by writing what you love, without imitation of others, can you can create a unique author voice?

Author voice is best defined as the way the narrative translates to reader to establish mood, setting, and the catharsis being built into the narrative. When you pick up a Chuck Palahniuk, you have an idea that there will be a strong sense of anti-establishment, some coarse language told via character narration, and some anarchy. When you read Brian Jacques, you anticipate a family friendly narrative of woodland creatures feasting and defending their homelands.

It’s how they developed their voice and created loyal followers with each and every narrative. So there’s a brief layout of what it means to have an author voice, we’ll be diving into defining your voice more clearly, taking some risks, and most importantly write what you love.

Have you found your author voice? What do you hope to accomplish with your voice? Chime in with the comments section below. Ask me anything on author voice on Twitter @ThomasAFowler, and keep checking my official website for the latest updates. Thanks so much for taking on the Writer’s Conquest.

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