Voice is the very essence of your writing and your stories. Voice is the soul and spirit of your prose. Everything you’ve ever touched, smelled, heard, and tasted; everything you’ve experienced in your life, studied in school, seen on television; the movies you’ve watched, the books you’ve read, the people you’ve met, your family and friends, the people you’ve loved and hated—everything contributes to making you the unique person you are.
As a result, every word you write will come from deep within your psyche, from your heart, and from your soul.
The words you choose, the paragraphs you write, how you structure your sentences, the white space on the page, even the way you punctuate will be distinctively yours. The underlying themes that emerge, the pace and flow of the prose, the nuances, similes and metaphors—all of these things make up your voice without you even trying.
Voice is the personality of your writing. Some authors’ voices are in your face, so strong that readers either love it or hate it. Other authors’ voices are subtle, so smooth that it’s almost not there. Don’t be fooled; it is.
Your voice is how the writing sounds not only in your head and the reader’s head, but it’s how it sounds coming off the page and read aloud. There’s a rhythm, a cadence to the prose. Voice can literally be music to your ears. And just as you may prefer rock and roll over opera, that doesn’t mean opera is bad; it simply means that it doesn’t appeal to you or resonate from within—so too with books.
How do you find your voice? First, learn the rules of grammar, study writing techniques, and hone your craft. After which, you must stifle your inner critic and internal editor, and write from the heart and from the gut. When it’s time to revise, listen to that voice in your head and don’t edit it out of your work, because that voice is what makes your writing yours and yours alone.