My kids just love this time of year. When adults sing silly songs about reindeer with red noses, snowmen that talk, sugar plums that dance, and chipmunks who sing as if they sucked on helium. Yes, it is a wonderful time of year!
This morning as we rolled out of bed, we turned on Christmas carols with Alvin and the Chipmunks. A bit reminiscent of those days when I was growing up and a bit delightful to my daughter who is missing four front teeth.
The coolest thing about Alvin and the Chipmunks is we know that nasally high-pitched tone from the very moment we hear it. They are unique. Their voices stand out among all the other carolers.
Writers have a unique voice as well. It is the sentence length, tone, word choice, style, and more. It is what makes your writing unique.
Open to the first page of the books of three of your favorite authors. Read the first line. Are they each unique? Definitely.
Read each out loud. Then read out loud the first line of your novel. Your voice is different, too. If it is still a bit undeveloped, don’t worry the more you write it will become more succinct.
If you are anything like me, the toughest part of voice is keeping it after you edit. Today and tomorrow I will take some time to talk about how to keep you voice while you edit. Tomorrow we will break it down into scene edits, but for today I’d like to focus on your voice throughout the whole manuscript.
Three Tips to Keeping Your Voice While You Edit Your Manuscript:
1. Recognize your Voice. Often your voice is easier to spot in your journaling or rough drafts because they are written without censure. Read through your work and listen for the flow of your writing.
2. Study your Voice. Write down things you notice about your voice such as sentence structure, length, variations. Tone of your writing(For example, gritty or flowery). Recognize vocabulary choices and flavor (humorous, dark, etc.).
3. Compare Voice When Editing. Once you have applied edits, go back and see if it sounds like your writing. If it doesn’t, then add that flavor back in. Remember that poor craft is not voice. It will take time to learn the difference between the two, so be patient with yourself.
If your writing voice was a Musician singing Christmas carols, who would you sound like?