I've read somewhere that an author doesn't have a voice or true style until they have written over a million words. This is true to a certain extent. By the time we've written that long, we've stopped trying to copy our favorite authors or second guess ourselves, etc., if for no other reason than we're tired of doing that.
Some writers don't read the kind of fiction they write while they are working on a book for fear that they will start copying a writer's voice instead of using their own.
Voice is more than just the use or misuse of metaphors, etc. I know I choose the language I use because of the character's viewpoint I'm in. (I write strict third-person viewpoint.)
One character might see a plane wreck and describe it in my narrative as
The plane's pieces were scattered over the valley like clothes dropped by a drunk on the way to bed.
Another character who is more analytical would think
The gouge of earth left by the plane's moving fuselage led him to a boulder. The left wing tip lay against it. The furrow veered violently left there, and bits of wing then fuselage littered the area around it. When there was nothing left of the plane to break apart, the gouge ended.
The author must also choose voice by the genre expectations of the readers. Choosing the wrong voice can be quite jarring.
Can you imagine a romance novel written like a "noir" detective novel.
I can say this for Lord Garven, he was built, built like Cleopatra's Needle, but I walked away alone in the dark, dank London fog. I had my partner to avenge, and he had a date with Lord Southby.
One big mistake I've seen used by beginning writers is emulating the wrong writers, especially writers from the past.
A friend had this thing for Sinclair Lewis who wrote in the early 20th century, but I had to explain to him that Lewis' style was hopelessly outdated with its languid pace, florid style, and sentence structure, and with the current tastes of editors and readers, he would find no readers.
It's equally disastrous to emulate the current literary style of the moment like writing in second immediate or first person immediate.
I look at Lord Garven. He is built. Like Cleopatra's Needle. But I shake my head no and walk through the door. I must find my partner's killer.
You look at Lord Garven. He is built. Like Cleopatra's Needle. But you shake your head no and walk through the door. You must find your partner's killer.
By the time you're publishable, the moment is long gone.
What I'm saying is find the right voice for each work, and your own voice will emerge.
Marilynn's Workshop Schedule and Information Links
Final Week of Registration! "Magic, Monsters and Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy, or SF World." October 4-31, 2010. Savvyauthors.com
Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your paranormal romance, they will be to a reader. I'll show you how to create a fantasy or paranormal background from scratch and how to make it utterly believable.
"The Big Question: How to Create a Powerful Novel from a Few Ideas and One Big Question" November 1-28, 2010. writersonline.com.
Have you ever read a story then felt dissatisfied by it as you put it down? All the story elements--plot, characters, romance, and suspense--were there, but something was missing. That something is often called depth or resonance, and it's that element that turns an ordinary story into one you couldn't put down.
How do you write a story like that? It starts with the creation of the story. I?ll show you how to take a simple plot idea, premise, or character and turn it into a novel with resonance.
"Deconstructing Jim Butcher's STORM FRONT" November 8-13, 2010. Savvyauthors.com
Jim Butcher's "Dresden Files" series is one of the best-written and most successful urban fantasy series today. I will analyze STORM FRONT, the first novel, as an urban fantasy, as a genre-blending mix of fantasy and detective noir, and as a great model for worldbuilding for a series. I will also show how the hero, Harry Dresden, is a perfect mixture of other worldly powers and human strengths and weaknesses. Paranormal romance authors will also find this analysis of interest.