How to Edit And Keep Your Voice – Tips For Each Scene

1065761_41717638Originality is a major part of what makes an author great. All of those pieces of originality can be wrapped up into one word, voice. It is one of the most important elements in a writer’s success.

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.


About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

5 thoughts on “How to Edit And Keep Your Voice – Tips For Each Scene

  1. Great post. Here’s my writing sample.
    1. Black roses last week, now spidery words scrawled on a scrap of paper with Meade Funeral Home printed across the top.

    2. She turned and stared though the window at the dimly lit houses whizzing by. Her biological clock ticked off another day every twenty-four hours.

  2. jeannemt says:

    I love this post, Michelle. You bring up some great ideas for making sure my voice isn’t lost in the edits. My kids and I loved your video. Those boys are precious. 🙂

    I don’t have any idea about Pat’s samples. 😉 They both sound good. They sound like they are from different books–the first from a suspense and the second possibly from a romance or women’s fiction. 🙂

  3. Michelle Lim says:

    Maintaining your voice is one of your strengths, Pat!

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