Writing Voice

IMG_1182In cleaning Lucy’s room this weekend, I came across her 1st grade journal – basically it’s one of those class things where the students are required to write about something every day. Most of Lucy’s entries are an odd mix of things – wanting to be a Ninja or a werewolf or some random ramblings about trees and how happy she is that there aren’t any that have been cut down around our house.

It’s funny, because in meeting with her teacher this year, there was a lot of talk about her writing “voice” and how distinct it is. Which is one of those elusive things authors tend to talk about – no matter how good a writer’s grasp is on story or plot, you can’t really teach voice. It’s something you have or you don’t, although I believe it can certainly be cultivated – it’s the unique thing about a writer that makes their writing “theirs.”

Sort of how you can always tell that Book X was written by Author Y, even though it might be an unfamiliar series, because the writing tics *are* familiar. It’s sort of a catch-22 , though. Some readers find that voice comforting – but others might find it boring – e.g. it  reads like all his/her other books.)

On the other hand, if a writer steps outside that comfort zone, some readers may not like that either. (“It doesn’t read like an X book and I didn’t like it.”)

Not sure an author can really win here, one way or the other, which is why the general advice is to just write whatever you want and how you want, because the only one you need to please is you.

Like Lucy. She can write about Ninjas, or werewolves or trees or IMG_1184about hearts with halos that take poos and it’s all good because it makes her happy.


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