Voices Inside My Head
I had a difficult time figuring out what "voice" meant when applied to writing. Still not always sure my ideas match with everyone else, or anyone else. But here's my take on it.
Voice is how you recognize who wrote something. If you read something written by Stephen King or Dean Koontz, and you're read things by them in the past, you will likely recognize the style/voice, which often go together.
King has an everyman, conversational style, characters you recognize and fall in love with because you grew up with them. Koontz has amazing imagery when he writes. Is this voice, style or a combination of both.
When I write fiction, my voice shines more when I write in 1st person. Then the character's voice will burst through so you know when she is speaking, or he. For most nonfiction, mine is a conversational style, with humor when appropriate, unless it's technical writing, then all bets are off and we won't tackle that here.
If you are a music fan, you can probably listen to a new piece of music by Vivaldi or John Williams, recognise their style/voice, and know who wrote it without being told. It's that way with writers who have a stong voice.
How do you get there? Practice, paying attention to how your writing sounds. My friend Amy Shojai has a distinct voice whether she is writing fiction or nonfiction. I'll know it right away. Read widely and pay attention to voice as well as style, they are often tied together.
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