Three Things to Try When Your Voice Feels Forced

Voice.  Agents and editors want it but it can be a tricky thing to develop.  I’m fairly confident in my voice when I’m writing nonfiction but when I write fiction?  Everything will be going well and then . . . what?  Why don’t I sound like ME anymore?  When this happens, try these three things to sound like yourself.

  1.  Watch your reading.  I don’t have to be careful when I’m writing nonfiction or a picture book, but fantasy?  I’m not sure what the issue is but when I am writing fantasy, I can’t read fantasy.  I suspect this may be part of my mystery writing problem as well.  A top-notch author is like a magnet pulling me off course.  So when I’m working on these types of projects, I don’t read in the same genre.
  2. Listen to your words.  Sometimes I have the Word extension Speak read my writing aloud.  It may be a tinny, robot voice but it is a tinny, robot voice that helps poor word choices stand out.  I don’t understand why it works but it does.  When I can stop laughing at some of the pronunciations.  Yeah, at heart I’m a bratty 12 year-old.
  3. Speak your story.  When all else fails, don’t type your story out, speak it.  If you have a word to text program or app, use it.  If not, you can record yourself and then type it out although this is MUCH slower.  Not that word to text is a one step process.  You are going to have to go back and reread it making corrections.

Voice is all about sounding like you.  There are a lot of things that go into your voice – your age, where you grew up, your vocation, your education and more.  If you feel like you are still struggling to develop your voice, head on over to the Muffin and check out my column for today, 5 Tips to Help Develop Your Author Voice.