Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for Voice

A-Z Blog Challenge: V
Darlene Mueller Morse
My first choice was the letter X, but, alas, it was already spoken for. What I got was V which was still a small victory for me. It took me about two days to jettison my X musings but then I found myself idling away my time watching “American Idol” and, voila! I had my inspiration. “You have found your voice,” intoned JoLo. Yes! I thought. Voice. How important that is for a writer.

In my (great amount of) spare time away from writing, one of my jobs is as a composition aide, or grader, as we like to call ourselves. I grade essays for high school students. Most of the time, I use a rubric given to me by the instructor and most of the time it includes the trait “Voice.” Of all the writing traits, this one seems the hardest one for students. What is “voice?” How do you get it?

Voice is similar to the definition of art: “I can’t describe it but I know it when I see it.” Voice is hard to describe but when you read an essay or a column or piece of prose which has it, you know it. And you also know very well when a written piece has no “voice.” It is flat with no personality.

A definition of voice is writing that keeps the reader interested enough to continue to the end. I think it is more than that. Voice is putting yourself into what you write. It is adding all your personal idiosyncrasies into your words. It is making it, as JoLo would say, your own. No one else can write like you. It’s finding that voice which is the hardest part.

Voice is that magical place a writer gets to where suddenly, all the words simply flow and it feels right. Have you found your voice?

Darlene Mueller Morse is an Editorial Consultant specializing in editing, proofreading and transcribing


Bob Scotney said...

Please, please don't do the X factor when you get to X.

bfav said...

Some days I have my voice, other days I struggle to get it right on paper, I'm definitely closer.

Michelle Mach said...

Voice is a great topic for writers, but one that always seems a little mysterious. I remember the first time someone told me that they liked my voice in my writing and I really didn't know what they meant!

Jan Morrison said...

came here via Patricia Stoltey and am glad I did! Voice is so important and so slippery - thanks for looking at it.
Jan Morrison

Patricia Stoltey said...

I always enjoy posts about voice and this is a good one. How true that we have so much trouble defining the term but always recognize when an author has discovered his.

I thought I had found my voice, but my newer manuscripts tell me my voice is changing again. Maybe it's a dynamic process.

And hi to Jan...thanks for coming over.

Name: Luana Krause said...

Voice is so important to a writer. It just takes time to really find it. Hard to define but you know it when you see it.

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