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Finding Your Author Voice

In the beginning, there were words. Lots and lots of words. The key to those words was figuring out how best to construct them into mind-blowing stories. Stories that would grab people by the collar and shake them until their heads spun and teeth rattled. Stories that would cling to them long after they’d finished reading. In the beginning, it was also about finding my author voice: some unnameable quality in my writing that would make my work recognisably mine.

Like most other aspects of the art, author voice comes with practise, patience, and a lot of reading, and it’s something that’s always shifting and expanding. We all draw inspiration from the things we see, read, and hear, though to begin with we often find ourselves imitating rather than intentionally evolving and refining our own styles.

One of the beautiful things about it is we’re constantly learning about writing, even when we don’t consciously realise it. With any luck, imitation will transform into emulation, and emulation will eventually break down, leaving you with the best techniques that suit you as a writer. With even more luck, these techniques will then coalesce into your style—your very own author voice.

It doesn’t matter how far along the writerly road you are; whether you’re a beginner or a pro, as long as you’re writing regularly, your voice will be developing along with all the other skills and experiences you’ll want and need. I’ve noticed the change in my writing over the years, and still notice it today, with each new story I start. It’s fascinating to look back at past work and compare it to the current, a real journey through evolution.

Because, at the end of the day, what you have are words. Lots and lots of words. And the best way of dealing with them is to hone your style so you can use those words to the greatest possible effect.

Originally posted at Printsasia, The Mega Online Bookstore. June, 2011.

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