Writing about Voice (Part 1 of 3)
Barbara Higby asked about voice. She said that after she reread the manuscript, “I thought, Who wrote this? It wasn’t me.” I have three blog posts to answer this.
First, let’s start with what we mean by a writer’s voice. It’s who you are—it sounds like you—the true you.
Years ago Thomas Nelson hired me to help a doctor of pharmacology with his 750-page book. After I heard 200 pages I said, “I’ve met you and know you. This sounds like something you would write for your Harvard professor.”
“How did you know I went to Harvard?”
I didn’t, but I knew it didn’t sound like him. We tossed out the manuscript, started over, and wrote seven successful books from the material in his single manuscript.
It works like this: Who you are as a writer needs to show on the page. If you try to sound like somebody else, discerning readers will figure it out. They may not identify it, but they’ll know something is false.
The more honest you are, the stronger your voice. Who you are is all you have to offer. But if you offer who you are, that’s enough.