5 Great Articles About Voice

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Voice Week starts Monday! There are at least…21 of us participating. Who’s excited???

As one last hurrah before the big week, I’ve collected a short list of some of the most useful posts on voice I’ve found throughout the web. The excerpts are just the tip of the iceberg–click the links to really dig in to some excellent advice.

Leigh Anne Jasheway at Writer’s Digest has some invaluable tips on writing for the opposite gender:

Observe the stylistic differences between these two statements: “I’m sorry we’re late; we had a flat tire on our way here,” and, “The tire blew when we hit 70 on the freeway.” Chances are you can tell right away which sex is talking in each one.

Shrinking Violet talks about finding your voice by having the courage to say what you really feel: 

After a certain point, when one has reached a certain mastery of craft, craft is no longer the issue; the uniqueness of the voice is. Not just in the words you use, but the things you have to say. They have to matter. And matter a lot.

Jennifer Hubbard shares her thoughts about what makes a book un-put-downable, citing mystery and voice as the two big factors. But her note on re-readability is even more interesting:

I suppose I find the character voice more satisfying; even if a book has a thin plot, I will still enjoy the characters and not feel cheated.  Whereas, if a book has a strong plot but cardboard characters, I’ll read to the end but probably won’t reread, and will come away feeling vaguely irritated.

Mark Nichols at DailyWritingTips gets technical as he explains how word origins affect your voice:

Notice, in your writing, whether you have an affinity with Anglo-Saxon or a French fetish, or whether you are bilingual: Do you give, or present? Do you describe someone as misleading, or deceptive? Do you refer to fatherly, motherly, or brotherly bonds or affection, or paternal, maternal, or fraternal feelings?

Nathan Bransford gives great examples of unique voices, and talks about the elements that contribute to voice, including some that are easy to forget, like subtlety and authority:

Even the strongest voices don’t over-do it. Voices are not made up of repeated verbal tics (“You know,” “like,” “so I mean,” “I was all,” etc.) but are much more nuanced than that. They are not transcribed real-life dialogue, they give the impression of a real-life voice while remaining a unique construct.

P.S. Thank you all for your birthday wishes this week. You are all absolutely lovely, and had a great part in making my birthday fantastic.



About Stephanie Orges

Stephanie is an award-winning copywriter, aspiring novelist, and barely passable ukulele player. Here, she offers writing prompts, tips, and moderate-to-deep philosophical discussions. You can also find her on and Pinterest.

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  1. Hey, belated happy birthday, Stephanie! 🙂 Looking forward to next week. Thanks so much for this very helpful post!

  2. OK, this should be great fun!! 🙂 Looking forward to Voice Week 2011!

  3. Maureen McParland

    I don’t know if you are still in existence. If you are these articles or blogs have been so helpful to me. I’m not the young kid or adult who wants to write their first book and needs help. l’m a seventy year old who wants to write firstly memoirs and if good a book.
    Maureen McParland

    • Hi Maureen! I’m still around. Just haven’t posted in awhile, except for weekly writing prompts for Inspiration Monday. I’m so glad to hear this blog has been helpful to you! If I could recommend just one thing to help with your memoirs, it would be William Zinsser’s book, “On Writing Well.” Some of the best advice on writing I’ve ever read, and there’s a section specifically about memoirs!

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