Feb 11, 2014

Our Writing Voice

by Terri Wagner

I am confused on voice in writing. I attempted to google the subject to write a blog entry for another website. The editor of that site responded nicely that I had voice wrong. I scratched my head, advised I had gotten the idea from various websites, wrote something else, and decided to re-educate myself on voice.

Hmmm. After considerable research, I have decided no one can definitively describe voice. And forget about tone and theme. Taking a very unofficial website poll, it appears voice has to do with (drumroll please) grammar. What?! I'm pretty sure that's not right. It also appears tone is what they refer to as your personality, your particular way of writing that faithful readers like about your work. For example, Shakespeare or Dickens or Clancy or Eddings or (fill in the blank). I thought that was voice myself. Theme is why you write what you right, only sometimes that can be voice too. I thought voice was really all those things. English "ain't" what it used to be.

For one thing, voice is also about your audience. Are you writing for a website? Nonfiction? Fiction? Apparently those things have a piece of the action. I thought that was voice myself and based that blog entry on that. But the editor saw what I wrote as theme. I think "we" failed to communicate because I was using the word "why" when I guess I really meant "how." I think!!!!

So any English majors out there that can give me some assistance here? I want to be an excellent content editor, but I can't explain voice, how on earth can I judge it? Or help an author find his or hers? Nevermind trying to write something myself. That's as I said before on hold for awhile.


  1. Wow. I will be watching to see what others have to say. Just when I thought I had that all figured out...and now I see that I wasn't even close!

  2. I'm an English major. The way I've always seen it (and my teacher didn't say anything different) is that it's really a combination of everything. But I haven't really thought about it and we only talked about it in passing so I might be completely wrong. After all, I'm only an undergraduate. So I'm really interested to see what other people have to say about it as well!


  3. I've always considered voice to be that unique part of you (and, thus, your writing), that makes the story indelibly yours, something no one else could quite duplicate. Grammar definitely comes into play with my writing voice, like the way I structure my sentences. The way I occasionally use sentence fragments. The way I repeat a structure for emphasis. You know. That kind of thing. :)


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