Monthly Archives: September 2014

Mistaking your inner voice for your writing voice

Is it an evil thing, to find value in a friend’s mistake?

Woman with typewriter.


I’ve been struggling to develop a unique writing  voice. Ideally, the narrative should seem so transparent that the reader forgets the medium and uploads the story directly to the pages of their mind, as if living it themselves. While reviewing a friend’s story, I found inspiration.

My friend was so coy. She’d say, “here look at this old thing” and toss you a concept, then dog you like a hound until you’d read it through and shared every scrap of meat on the bone with her. Turning the pages, I felt her at my shoulder, laughing at her own jokes and drunk with cleverness.  How irritating. I wanted to protest, “this is my experience, butt out!” That’s when I tripped over the answer.

She’d written in her inner voice. In her mind, this is how she spoke to close friends, to her kids, to her self.  Because we’re told the written voice should be unique to you, it stands to reason that it should parallel your inner voice, doesn’t it? What greater compliment could you give your readers than to talk to them as you would to your self?

How egotistical. How narcissistic.

My take New Born Lambaway is that there’s a courteous voice you must find, as a writer.  One that, though true to yourself, is tailored to your audience.  A voice that leads them gently, allows them to find their own meaning and respects their ability to interpret and take from your story what they will.

Of course, now I have to puzzle out how to do that. But reading what I wrote a year ago (that terrible story was mine!) I have new perspective with which I’ll hope to develop a gentler voice.