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Before we dive into how to find your author voice, we have to ask: What the heck even is an author voice?
Years ago, when I wrote my second novel, one of my friends said they would recognize my voice anywhere. At the time, I thought it was perhaps a bad thing. Did that mean my book was predictable? Too much like the first novel? After that, I went on a hunt to figure out what voice meant.
Through the years, I’ve come to realize that my author voice is that particular blend of tone, style, word choice, sentence structure, intentional errors such as unconventional dialogue formatting, and perspective that makes my stories uniquely mine.
Over the years, my voice has evolved and now, as a mid-career author, I have settled comfortably into my own voice the way you’d settle into your favorite chair—naturally and without much fanfare.
If you’re just starting out and you’re looking for ways to develop your own unique style, there are only three steps:
There are a lot of reasons to develop your own author voice into something recognizable to your and your readers. But perhaps the most important reason to settle into your own voice is that doing so will give you the confidence to keep writing even when someone doesn’t like your piece.
Taste is subjective and not everyone will love what you write. But when you’ve found your voice and you feel comfortable with it, you’ll be able to withstand the criticism of people who don’t prefer it and gravitate towards the ones who do.
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