Top 5 Tips for Developing Your Writing Voice [Novel Boot Camp #17]

Aspiring writers often wonder how to develop their writing voice. In this video I go over my top tips for developing a strong voice that works well for your novel.

Video Highlights

  • Reading a wide variety of novels is essential in creating a strong voice.
  • Avoid stealing or mimicking another writer’s voice because you will struggle to maintain that voice over the long run. You will likely get frustrated and quit writing.

Five Tips for Developing Your Writing Voice

1. Write with Intention – Think about the emotion and tone you want to convey to readers and make sure your word choices reflect it. If you want to create a tense or scary tone, don’t compare clouds to fluffy pillows. If you want to create an uplifting tone, don’t compare a mountain range to the edge of a serrated knife.

2. Experiment with Point of View – Writers often stick to one point of view because they are comfortable with it or because they believe their genre requires a specific point of view. Experimenting with point of view and choosing the one that works better for you can significantly improve your voice.

3. Edit – Some writers believe that a strong voice means you get everything right the first time, but this is not the case. All writers need to edit their work to bring out their voice and to replace sloppy similes or poor word choices. Editing is a great way to pull out the voice you’re shooting for.

4. Know the Basics – A “weak voice” often just means that the writer hasn’t mastered the basics. Make sure you understand point of view, passive speech, and tense. It’s also important to recognize and avoid cliches, filtering, and telling. Learning and applying the basics can move your voice from weak to competent.

5. Relax – It takes a long time to develop a strong voice so try to be patient. You can also relax because a strong voice is not nearly as important as most writers think it is. So long as your voice is competent and isn’t blatantly weak, it is probably strong enough to be successful so long as the story itself is worth telling. A voice that simply gets the job done is sufficient in most genres and most stories.

The Q&A session submission form is still open! Please submit your questions for the Q&A session on Friday!

Workshop #2 peer critiques are still posted. Please don’t forget to critique at least five submissions!

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4 thoughts on “Top 5 Tips for Developing Your Writing Voice [Novel Boot Camp #17]

  1. Pam Portland (@TruckingWriter) says:

    Experimenting with the point of view is a great tip. I’ve tried to do this and discovered I enjoy writing a lot more because it separates different stories as they are growing in my mind because I see them in first person versus third person and it absolutely changes the way the stories unfold.

  2. Douglas Hazelrigg says:

    Great entry. One thing I’ve heard, which follows from Tip #5, is for new writers to not try to imbue their writing with style, but to aim for clarity; then, one’s unique style with develop and congeal over time. Similarly, it’s a big mistake — and one I find myself doing fairly often — to take a rather straightforward first or early draft and to try to ladle “style” on top of it (I think this is from Strunk and White, no less).

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