In a writers group, recently, the question arose about the definition of “voice” for a fiction writer. The subject intrigued me, so I asked several writers/poets to give me their thoughts on the subject. Here, in alphabetical order—by author—are their thoughts.
“It is the style or the way if you will, someone writes.”
—Marion Dollar, writer and newspaper columnist
“To me, voice is a signature. Word usage, the air inspired by your narrative. I’ve always looked at is as being comparable to style.”
—J.M. Kelley, author of Daddy’s Girl and Almost Magic
“The Author’s voice is the overall effect of the tale, or series. After all, the author is God in the pages they write. They hold full control over the weather, lives, and what gets told.”
—M.R. Mathais, award winning author of The Wardstone Trilogy
“In prose ‘voice’ is what the writer says as he comments, sets scenes, and describes his characters. It is his own distinct fingerprint made up of vocabulary, word choice and emphasis, patterns of stopping and starting sentences.”
—Sue Scalf, author of nine books of poetry, her latest book is Almost Home.
“Giving voice to a fictional narrator is an acquired skill that can be polished with intelligent practice.
Not so the author’s voice, which is expression of mind and soul. It develops, as the writer surrenders to his mandate, as naturally as acorn becomes oak.”
—Russ Tate, who writes when he can’t help himself
“The importance of voice is its ability to add complex visual imagery to the written word. It determines if a reader is pulled into the scene or simply a passive observer.”
—Tom Temple, author of Cheese Grits, Stories to Nourish the Southern Soul.
If you, readers of this blog, have a definition of “voice” in fiction writing, let us know with your comments.