Finding one’s voice is one of the biggest obstacles faced by someone who wants to write, perhaps because we have many preconceived ideas about what writing is, such as literary language, etc. In this article, I will give some keys to help you find your voice when writing. Narrative discourse has a lot of orality. The voice is one of the writer’s most essential tools; it will be what gives his fingerprints on the paper.
The Voice Comes Through the Ear
Still, after so many centuries, literature retains features of its oral origin, stories told around a bonfire or in the town square and the theater. So the reader, when reading a story or a novel, seems to be listening to a very characteristic rumor that whispers fascinating events in his ear and through which he has access, with the help of our best and most affordable Ghostwriting Agency, to the fictional world. Narrative discourse has, therefore, a lot of orality. So much so that the voice is one of the most essential tools for the writer. What’s more, the voice shapes the writer; it will be what gives him his fingerprints, his way of existing on paper.
But, just as singers have to educate their voice so that it reaches its most significant potential if you want to write, you must also train yourself so that your voice sounds convincing, natural, direct, and sincere. Once you recognize and use your authentic voice in all its nuances, it will return the favor and make your stories appear fluently and authentically.
The Voice is about the Look
Each person has a unique way of looking at what happens in the world and inside them. And the peculiarity of our gaze is what we have to translate into written words through our voice. Think about the tints, filters, or distortions you put in the world and translate that into your voice. For example, do you tend to see the world negatively? Ironic? Tender? Angry? Emotional? It can give you clues about what your voice will be like.
Anyone would know exactly what the voice of their loved ones (and those they hate) sounds like. Each of them has a different tone and a unique way of transmitting how they see the world through their words (and, why not, also their gestures).
Thus, the voice is not something you can learn but results from your predispositions, character, and experience. Each person carries a particular suitcase of incidents on their back. This vital baggage (how each person lives, acts, and feels) makes them look at the world (and therefore tell it) uniquely.
The Voice Must be Versatile
However, just because each person has a peculiar voice does not mean it has to be rigid, unique, and invariable: human beings can communicate in many ways. We don’t do it the same way with our partner as our sister, the waiter at the bar where we have breakfast daily, or our neighbor. It is also not the same as telling a joke or how you were in a traffic accident. The depth and feeling of what you transmit are different, as is your state of mind or your vital moment, and that is why your voice will manifest itself in another way: it comes from the same place, from within you, but it does so transform into every occasion.
The Voice is Emitted by the Figure of the Narrator
When you write stories, you do not speak directly; instead, you do so through the figure of the “narrator.” The narrator is someone whose voice is sometimes only known. It is not known how he is dressed or what he does in his free time, but only what he says and how he says it. The type of narrator you use will depend on the story you want to tell and how you want it to reach the reader. Sometimes, you will use a first-person narrator blended with the protagonist. In these cases, the narrative voice will be that of the character, who will speak according to his way of being and seeing the world. Or if you use a third-person narrator, more like a movie camera, the narrator’s voice will be different, perhaps colder and more impersonal.
So, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make regarding voice when writing a story is the type of narrator and the approach to the characters you want to use.
Mix Presumption with Humility
Many years ago, I attended a master class by Alessandro Barco. Among other exciting things, he said that the writer sawed an angel where ordinary mortals saw nothing and that he could show it, through his work, to others. To convey that experience, the writer must have, Barco said, a mixture of presumption and humility.
- The presumption requires believing what he is saying at face value (“I have seen it,” he must affirm with his voice. “I have seen the angel, and I am going to tell you”) to be convinced of his point of view and to express it with authority through its narrator.
- And the humility necessary to admit that he is a simple craftsman of words, to kneel in front of the reader with his open toolbox and pick up one or the other as needed to express his unquestionable truth.
Achieving that ideal mix of presumption and humility in your voice is the most challenging thing for any writer. However, it is something that the reader will sense from the first line of a story, and that will encourage him to continue reading or to doubt a voice that is too shaky, insecure, clichéd, elusive, or flashy.
Be Careful with the Imposter Voice
If you’ve noticed, children always say what they want and how they want, both in private and public. For this reason, children’s language is so direct, rich, and attractive. However, as you age, you begin to censor what you say and how you communicate it. And your authentic voice is relegated to moments of intimacy when you don’t have to answer to anyone about what you think or who you are. There are many external voices that, little by little, hide your own due to influences from society, social status, family, and your fears.
When we write, we continually face interference from different voices that do not belong to us. When you feel insecure about your writing, you resort to borrowing other agents, which you consider higher or more literary than yours, and you use grandiloquent words or gimmicky resources that not only prevent you from seeing the story well but also cause distrust in the reader due to lack of naturalness. In narrative, words are at the service of the story. And the first thing you have to learn is to narrate and directly connect with your characters and their conflicts. The essential something when fantasy writing is not to dwell on words and boast of vocabulary but to tell suggestive stories. I recommend using simple words without abusing adjectives and adverbs, avoiding overloaded language.
Shape Your Voice with Intention
The intention would be the “why” you tell the story, and it would have a lot to do with the theme and the underground message that you want to convey to the reader. This intention will be marked in the narrative voice’s tone, expressiveness, and emotional drive. When the narrator is close to a character, he must absorb their point of view and their way of understanding what is happening. And if he is far away, he must have his own. The narrator and characters are human beings, not robots. The reader is interested in knowing what happens, of course, what the characters’ actions and reactions are, how they experience it, and their particular approach to the events.
Imagine that, in our story, we will describe a sunrise. A description is the most narratively “neutral” thing we can find. However, it should have nothing to do with being displayed by a child than by an older man, by someone whose loved one has just died, by a newlywed, by an astronaut on the Moon, or by a painter in front of a canvas. In these differences lies the intention.
Let Your Voice Point to the Heart of the Matter
In literature, it always points out an existential message beneath the words. How do we live? Because? What’s happening to us? Why is it that human beings are in permanent conflict? It has a lot to do with the voice. The same fact has nothing to do with being transmitted ironically rather than tragically, and our narrators have to get involved to give the greatest possible strength to the chosen plot, to what they ultimately want to convey.
Therefore, it is essential to make our voice more flexible as writers and be able to get into the skin of our characters. It is an option—in every story that one begins—vital, ideological, transcendent: it is what we mean with what we say. Substance and form, in short, are not separated. The character and the voice are the hooks that will catch the reader at the story’s beginning. The agent’s hypnotic effect immerses the reader in the fiction.
The Voice Works as a Hook and Carries a Lot of Information.
The management of the narrative voice constitutes about seventy percent of the effectiveness of a short story. It is a generalization, of course, because it is true that in some cases, this resource is used in a more striking way than in others. Using help or tools that group several functions is essential when working with a short genre. The nuances of the narrative voice (such as tone, volume, or expressiveness) provide much Information about the story without affecting its length, making it an essential resource.
In how environmental Information is being given, for example, we can deduce the protagonist’s mood, his sex, his preferences, his neuroses, and even whether he is a civil servant or a rock musician. On the other hand, the character and the voice are the “hooks” that will catch the reader at the beginning of a story. If the reader notices an involved, influential, and authoritative voice that makes things easier for him to enter the story, he will be captivated. However, perhaps the conflict takes a little time to appear, or the description is being abused. As a writer, the voice has a specific hypnotic effect that allows you to immerse the reader in the fiction while making adjustments before delving deeply into the conflict.
The Voice is the Primary Means of Transporting Emotions
Literature moves in the experiential field and, therefore, in the world of emotions. And a good part of the emotional charge of a story is placed in the voice. When how something is said to us moves us, we are already immersed in the experience beyond the intellectual level. When we are there, it is much easier for the writer to take us through facts that could seem implausible when observed at a greater distance. On the contrary, if we do not use the potential of the narrative voice, the speech may remain flat and impersonal, the reader may detect a certain contradiction between what is being told and the lack of enthusiasm or indifference with which it is said, that there is an excess of explanations with Information that could be implicit in the voice, etc.