Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Re-inventing Your Voice

Have you ever struggled with your writing wondering if your writing voice is what a publisher wants or if that voice you feel so strongly about is actually reaching your audience? Here are a few ideas regarding your writing voice that may help to determine if you need to re-invent yourself and your voice.

First are you getting enough writing gigs to make you happy or are you spending the summer wallpapering with your rejections?  If you have rejections, it means you are writing and submitting your work and that is fabulous. But if you continue to get rejections while doing exactly the same kind of writing it may be that you need to change it up a bit.

Consider tweaking the points you are highlighting in a piece of writing to a different point of view. Whether that is from first person to third, or in nonfiction looking at the subject from another angle changing the direction of the piece may make it more marketable.

Look at the writing that has been rejected and make sure it is grammatically correct and the verbiage is clear and concise. Muddy writing will definitely get rejected in this tight marketplace so make sure your are using exactly the words you need to express your voice.

If the writing is clear and factual, the voice is exactly what you want, and your are still not getting clients or publishers interested in your work then look at the audience you have targeted. If your writing voice is exactly what your target audience is wanting your work will be picked up much quicker than if your voice is different than the voice of the magazine or company you are writing for. Sometimes writers must re- invent the voice and tone of their words to mesh with the target audience or the publisher. That doesn't mean that you compromise your values but that you adapt your way with theirs to find that perfect tone for a writing piece.

Writing voice can be tainted or molded by the words used and the tone of those words. For instance sarcasm  may be appropriate for an adult audience but may not be the right voice for a children's magazine. Humor may be a bit more harsh for an adult audience but could be altogether inappropriate for middle grade readers and silly humor may be appropriate for a children's story but in an adult piece readers would not appreciate the laugh.  When you do your revisions make sure your voice matches the tone you want the reader to feel and that it is appropriate for the age of your reader and the purpose of the piece.

I don't have the direct quote nor do I know the original author of the quote but it goes something like this: If you keep doing the same thing you will get the same results..... Eventually if all you get is rejections then it might be time to change your writing a bit. Think about re-inventing your writing voice. It can be more conversational, positive, less condescending, more formal, more direct, authoritative, kind, compassionate, and the list goes on depending on what kind of writing you are doing. Rest assured though, writing voice is important to the reader and those that publish and buy your work.

How can you re-invent your writing voice? Your thoughts on what difference writing voice may make in your acceptance rates?


Donna McDine said...

Terrific article! My comment may appear twice. When I clicked publish it disappeared. For magazines, study the back issues of the magazine that interests you. Read from front to back, making notes along the way of the style and voice of the articles. Refer back to your notes when writing your article so you stay within their format, style and voice. Submit away! Good luck!

Shirley Corder said...

I have just finished a book written in a different style to my usual, simply because it's a very different book to any I've done before. So yes, this is a challenge for me. Is it still "my voice" coming through, as it should be, or have I taken on more of a teacher's voice? Thanks for your thoughts Terri!

Karen Cioffi said...

Terri, great advice on what to do if you're continually get rejections on your freelance writing submissions to magazines. You absolutely must write for the audience.

Donna also has great advice - analyze the magazines you want to write for.

Magdalena Ball said...

Good advice, Terri. A lot of writers think their 'voice' isn't variable, but we can use different voices for different work - like an actor.

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