Today’s guest post is from my friend Elizabeth Hyndman. She works at a church, goes to school, strongly dislikes Furbies and drinks a lot of tea. She also is a great writer with a unique voice. You can check out her blog here and follow her on Twitter @edhyndman.
All writers have a voice. Or they will, if they keep at it. Your voice, by my own definition, is simply how you say things. As a writer, you want the way you say things to be distinct so that your writing is identifiable, no matter the genre.
That’s how parody twitter accounts come to be–people are copying a writer’s distinct voice. Even when they say things the actual writer never said, it sounds like something they would have tweeted.
The question is, then, how can you one day inspire a parody twitter account?
Here are some tips:
1. Pay attention to vocabulary.
You’ll probably use certain words more often than others. You may prefer to utilize SAT vocab flashcards in your writing. You may rather “write what you know.”
2. Pay attention to sentence structure and punctuation.
It’s always best to have a variety of sentence structures in any piece, but you’ll probably notice you lean towards certain ones. I lean towards run-on sentences, but I learned to cope using commas (and parentheticals). And also sentence fragments. Some of you might lean more traditional in your sentence structure.
With the right sentence structure and punctuation, it’s even possible to write in a tone of voice. Use these tools wisely to convey the voice you want.
4. Read people you want to sound like.
You tend to write like you read. While I don’t recommend trying to emulate someone completely–you want to have your own voice, not someone else’s—if, for example, you are trying to add humor to your writing, read writing you find funny. Ask: how do they use punctuation? sentence structure? vocabulary?
5. Write the way you talk.
Read your writing out loud. If it doesn’t sound like something you’d normally say, then change it.
I’ve found that making faces as if I’m talking while I’m writing is effective. Embarrassing when in public, but effective.
6. Write. A lot.
The more you write, the more your voice will shine through. This sounds horrifyingly similar to work and it is. Sorry.
There are countless other ways to hone your voice. What are some ways you’ve discovered?