So the other day, my fiend Justine Larbalestier asked for advice on answering one of her “writing advice month” questions about voice. So I did, but most of my advice is just a riff on Julie Leto’s excellent articles on the subject.
Like Julie, I believe that a writer’s voice is something that develops over time, through the process of putting words on the page, over and over. She writes that it’s one of the hardest aspects to define, because it is so different depending on how it manifests. With one writer it could be the way they choose to put sentences together, or their propensity for wacko similes (or avoiding them like the plague, as they always come out cliched “like the plague”), or the fact that they write super short chapters, or that they always write XYZ kind of characters. It’s what makes you love one writer’s historical romance but not care very much for her contemporary thrillers. Or vice versa.
Like that famous quote about pornography, you know it when you see it. But that doesn’t mean you can define it.