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Writing with Voice

Turgay Birand

May 27, 2014

Writing with voice is difficult to define and even more difficult to do well, but without a distinct and unique voice, the indie author is likely to simply join a cacaphony of white noise that is present in less-than-stellar writers. You can rise above the white noise, though, and really stand out as an author. It begins by writing with voice. Peter Elbow wrote the book Writing with Power in 1981, but what he said about writing with voice is as true today as it ever was, and can make the difference between an indie author who sells eBooks and one who does not. Elbow said, ""Writing with no voice is dead, mechanical, faceless. It lacks any sound. Writing with no voice may be saying something true, important, or new; it may be logically organized; it may even be the work of a genius. But it is as though the words came through some kind of mixer rather than being uttered by a person….Voice … is what most people have in their speech but lack in their writing—namely a sound or texture—the sound of 'them'" (287-88). Tom Romano, a professor at the University of Miami, says, "'Voice' is one of the least concrete elements of good writing, and yet it is also one of the most important. Helping students find a balance between the 'gush' of ideas and words and the 'long-thinking' of reflection and craft." William Zinsser, in his book, On Writing Well, (a book every indie author should have by their computer), says to choose words that are "vivid and precise, but not long or fancy…words that readers probably weren't expecting and that they therefore welcome." How do you write with voice? Share your tips, writing samples, and ideas with your fellow indie authors.

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