The election season may be over for now, but inside your manuscript is a totally different place to let your voice shine.(This hook sounded much catchier in my head . . .too late now. We'll just roll with it.)
What is voice? What is style?
Ever read a review where a reader raved about a writer's style and wondered what exactly they meant? Ever had someone review your own work and tell you it felt flat or lacked voice?
According to good 'ol wikipedia, style is--
Writer's voice is the literary term used to describe the individual writing style of an author. Voice was generally considered to be a combination of a writer's use of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text (or across several works). .So voice describes a writer's style, and style is this big, messy glob of writing structure mixed with a dash of character sass, with some very personalized diction folded in. (catch all that?)
It sounds kooky, but pick up a book by your favorite author. Open it randomly and read a paragraph or two. Now pick up another book they wrote and do the same. It could be a completely different story and character, but there's that ghost of an echo--something that almost feels like deja vu. If done well it will be subtle and not bring attention to itself.
What if my voice sucks? Can I fix it?
Friends, let me share with you the time I tried to rock a perm. Long story, one word summary: horrifying. My second grade class pictures might be permanently ruined, but my hair? It grew out. What I'm trying to say is, voice can be manipulated. Style played around with. Try things out and see what works and what doesn't. The best way to "fix" voice is to actively and consistently be aware of it!
So. Get to that part about me being all special and snowflakish . . .
It's true. Over and over we get told to quit being special and snowflakish because we're no different than every other writer out there struggling to make it in the big publishing world. But your voice? It can be as unique as your fingerprints if you really want it to be. Take the time to polish and perfect it and I promise you, it'll make you stand out.