Thursday, June 28, 2012

Developing your writing voice

In her final New York Times Draft piece, “The Voice of the Storyteller,” Constance Hale explores the choices writers make to distinguish their writing as uniquely their own, also called developing a personal writing voice or style.

Hale writes, “Voice… refers to the ineffable way words work on the page. It tips us off to the identity of the writer. Reflecting a combination of diction, sentence patterns and tone, voice is the quality that helps a writer connect with a reader, and it turns the writer into a narrator.”

Hale lists many examples of writers that have cultivated unique voices, like the writing of Junot Diaz which “mixes Spanglish, literary theory, Caribbean history and no small amount of profanity in his fiction” or E.B. White, who has a more understated and “effortless” voice.

How can you develop your own signature writing voice? One tip is to write about what you know. When you are writing on a familiar topic, whether it be your area of academic or professional expertise, or even a movie review, you are more likely to write in your own words. Without the need for research or fact checking, you can fully devote your energy to writing with style -- your style.

To read Hale's article in its entirety, please visit: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/category/draft/.

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