There is no shortage of books, blogs and more talking about the idea of voice. The idea is pretty simple when you get to the core of it, like all good ideas.
If you were to read a random chapter of a Terry Pratchett book, chances are you could identify he was the author. He has a voice in his novels, a way of telling a story that is uniquely his. If I tore a random page out of The Light Fantastic, you would get that wry, almost mocking, omniscient narrator tone and click. Ditto with Jeffrey Archer, Lovecraft and others.
If it was a writer without voice, if you took their name off the book, you wouldn’t have the vaguest idea who was behind it. Given the sheer volume of books out there, I would say voice is more important than ever.
Not just novels, scripts, plays, films, games, voice is what really separates it from the crowd. If people like your voice, then they will want more of your work.
Practice, practice, practice. That is the key here. The more you write, the more you will develop this. There are no short cuts when it comes to voice but I can guarantee you, the more you write, the sooner it develops, so hit that keyboard.
Something I had a problem with initially was sanitising my voice, being too concerned that it didn’t seem like writing and sucking the character out to make it more clipped and formal. What an awful mistake! Don’t crush your writing to fit a mould, write how you want to and really embrace your own style of doing it.
Part of that requires bravery. Using your own voice is pouring a lot of heart and soul into a story. So if it flounders it can be all the more painful. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I would rather read a spectacular failure than a soulless, by the numbers tale. But you won’t fail, keep working on that voice.
It can be difficult to describe your own voice in writing and it can sneak up on you but it is there, all you need to do is write and it will find a way into it, even when you try to keep it out. I’m sure even the dullest, driest banking reports I have ever written had some voice in it.
To sum up this whole blog in one sentence- be bold, don’t hesitate, let your voice be heard!
On a lighter note…nothing makes it feel more like Christmas than a Muppet Christmas Carol!