Your Voice

pond “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”–Oscar Wilde

Have you read something and wondered why the author was imitating Seuss or Tolkien?

Developing your own voice is tough enough without imitating other writers.  Sometimes we do this without meaning to, but it is also part of the reason that I will not read a chapter book when I am writing a chapter book or a fantasy novel while working on my fantasy.  I’m afraid that another writer’s voice will creep into my writing.

How then do you develop your own voice?

Perhaps you’ve heard this advice before — write like you talk.  Do you?  If not, give it a try.

I was really hesitant to do it.  In part, because I’m very self conscious about how I speak.  We won’t even get into what it is I’m self conscious about or why.   I’m sure that alone could be a dissertation for some kind of psych major.  But when I started writing essays last year, I made a serious effort to sound like myself.  I’ve also done it with a picture book manuscript and a chapter book too.  Yes, I made sure that sentence length and complexity were appropriate for the various types of writing, but I sounded like me.

And I think it worked.  I even had an editor tell me that I “nailed” the chapter book voice.  She may have meant that I sound just like an 8-year-old boy when I speak, but I’m going to take the plunge and assume it was a compliment.

Write like yourself and see how it works for you.  So far, I’m happy with the result on this end.

–SueBE


, especially something written by a new writer, and thought,