Interview on writer's voice

Kaye Dacus interviewed me about writer’s voice. The interview is below. You can also go to her blog for more answers on writer’s voice by Gail Martin and Shelley Bates.

Kaye: How did you find your unique writing voice? Did you struggle to find it or did it come easily to you?

Camy: Both, actually. When I first started writing, my voice was very muted because I didn't understand what a writer's voice was.

Then I started to realize that each writer needs to let her natural "voice" come out in order to distinguish herself from every other writer out there.

If you pick up an Amy Tan book, you can tell the writer's voice is very different from Helen Fielding's (Bridget Jones). You'd never mistake one for the other.

I wanted my voice to be distinctive like that. Once I figured that out, I let go of all inhibitions and wrote exactly how I wanted to write, regardless of rules, etc. I fixed things up in revisions, but my voice was there on the page, uninhibited and uncensored.

Now, I make sure I always write with my voice, whether in fiction, or articles, or my blog (practice makes perfect, after all). I firmly believe it's a very important part of being a good writer--to have a unique voice that will appeal to an editor, and your readers.

Kaye: How would you describe your unique writing voice? What is it that you do to make sure your writing "sounds like" you?

Camy: My voice is a bit breezy, rather irreverent, and I try to always keep it honest and open. In the course of writing all my manuscripts that DIDN'T sell, I figured out what my voice "sounds" like. It really was a matter of just trial and error, and lots of practice.

Writing with my voice is a very conscious effort. It doesn't just come out whenever I write. I have to make sure I keep it in mind when I'm writing, or else it'll be muted.

I think a lot of writers assume it just "flows" out, but that's not the case with me. I have to deliberately write in my voice. It's something I work to do for every chapter I write. It's not difficult or a struggle, but it's definitely something I have to constantly keep in my mind.

Kaye: What advice would you give to beginning/intermediate writers to help them find and develop their unique writing voice?

Camy: One really good book is Finding Your Writer's Voice by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall. Not all the exercises resonated with me, but the majority of them are great for helping a writer to discover their writing voice.

It'll also help a writer develop their voice and bring it out with much less writing than I did to develop my voice (I mean, it took me 3 or 4 entire manuscripts!), because the exercises are so targeted.

And like I said before, practice makes perfect. Strive to develop your voice with everything you write.