What is voice?

What is voice?

What is voice?

Oh, dear goodness, a question that took me a year to figure out. Expecting a long post detailing voice at its finest? Don’t, because it’s simple. Voice is the way you say something. It can be dry, it can be engaging, it can be sharp, elegant, flat, overwritten…

Sometimes when people say “this lacks voice,” they mean “this lacks good/engaging voice.” Take a simple, he did, she did, and then say it using your own beautiful words.

An example was all I needed, so an example is almost all I’m going to give.

He called her to the house and gave her a ring.


Marian,” his quavering voice reached out to her. There, in the middle of the darkness of night, bowed to one knee on the wet asphalt, he held open a red velvet box with a diamond ring nestled inside.

Let’s do another.

The phone rang.


The cacophonous screech of the ringer filled any silence that still lingered in the air.

All have voice, but one juxtaposes flat voice with good voice.

Voice is you (or your MC) on a platter—this is how you would talk, this is how your MC would talk (in first person or as narrator).

“Good” voice conveys ideas without making sentences overly simple and “possibly written by anyone.” It’s unique. This isn’t to say a manuscript can’t have simple sentences, it means that it shouldn’t be wholly comprised of them.

Flat voice can possibly be written by anyone and isn’t as engaging.

When you develop your voice, you’re crafting your style of storytelling with sentences that can’t be written by anyone else BUT you (or your character). It’s the style of writing a reader comes to expect when picking up your newest novel.

Good voice often paints a more vivid picture than dry or flat.

Voice defines the attitude or tone of a book.

Voice is also one of the 5 elements of a story.


One thought on “What is voice?

  1. Voice is important–we all need it. I think what’s worked best for me is to simply keep writing. The more I write, the more refined my voice gets.

    Also, critique is crucial. Amphora is one of many writers who’s beta read with me, pointing out ways I could state things better, helping me to refine and discover my unique voice. 🙂


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