Shelley Widhalm

Voice: Talk on Key Writing Tool

In Shelley Widhalm, Writing on February 12, 2012 at 11:00 am

It’s so familiar, yet it is effusive.

You hear it every day, but you don’t have complete control over it.

It is voice.

The way it sounds – the pitch, tone and accent – and how you choose your words as you talk is part of it.

Voice written down becomes more than word choice. It is how you put together words and sentences and paragraphs. It is how you choose to describe things.

Hemingway wrote short, crisp sentences.

Faulkner was effusive.

Dickens was a bit flowery.

The voices of the greats show how writers can capture the feeling and tone of their writing through word choice, syntax and phrasing.

Voice is how writers structure a sentence. It pivots toward boredom as a series of subjects and nouns without variety in where the words are placed. It becomes staccato in the even, unaltered rhythm.

To be exciting, voice uses varied sentences, becoming descriptive in places and action-packed in others, aware of the balance of the story structure and the plot needs.

Voice is how you transition between thoughts and ideas.

It is how you choose to tell a story.

It is the reason you write. It is you, reflected in how your heart unfurls into words. It’s what you choose to write about, revealing what you notice, what you care about, what matters in the world you’ve created.

It is what you see, hear, smell, taste and touch, but in your own words.

Voice is your style. It is the way you see the world and interpret events. It is you on the page.

In love with the word and the beauty of language.

  1. Thanks for this great post, you did an excellent job capturing the importance of voice and how much of the writing process it affects.

    Voice is so hard to define. You know it when you see it. You know it when it isn’t there. I’ve read books with killer voice and books with very little voice or even a voice I could not connect with.

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