The writer’s voice includes sentence structure, length, tone, style, word choice, pacing and other nuances. It is so important to recognize your voice when editing each scene.
Listen to this example of voice (a fun spoof of a song, but you get the idea):
How to Edit Each Scene And Keep Your Voice:
*Before editing read through the scene once. Make a note of any things you feel are specifically your voice. How fast does it move? What word choices and sentence length do you have?
*Remember Poor Craft Is Not Voice. This is particularly difficult for newer writers. Is it okay to break the rules? Only once in a rare while and make sure it’s something you want to fight for because it could cost you some opportunities.
*Make Editing Changes. During this part, don’t worry as much about voice, unless what edits your crit buddy recommends goes so far off the mark you couldn’t write it like that.
*Don’t Agonize About The Changes. Remember that if you save the old draft, you can go back and change things again if you are unhappy with the outcome. Just make the changes before analyzing further.
*Go Back And Reread the Scene With The New Edits And Finesse. If there are pieces that don’t sound like you, try to finesse the change to reflect your own voice, but still solve the problem with the original draft.
*Finally, Read Both Scenes Out Loud To See If They Sound Like You. This is a way to double check that your voice is still coming through on the page. The further along you are in your craft, the less purposeful you will have to be about this as you get to know your voice better. For now, make the steps concrete so it is easy.
*If You Are Still In Doubt, Get A Second Opinion. Ask a friend you know to listen to both selections and give their best guess if they are the same writer after you have read them out loud. Ask them to tell you why they do or don’t think that.
Your turn. Try to stump us. Give two one sentence or two writing samples and we will guess if it is the same writer or not and give our reasons why. You’d be surprised what we can learn about voice from this one simple exercise.