Top 5 Tips to Develop Your Fiction Writing Voice

hey guys it's Ellen Rock freelance editor today I'm going to talk about how to find your voice as a writer this was by far the most requested video so many of you requested it I'm not even going to list out the names so I'm really excited to let you know my top tips and hopefully it will help you out to create a more distinct style and voice for your writing before I get into my top five tips I have a few really obvious tips and I'm not even going to count because you guys probably already know this the first is that you need to read a lot of novels you will never develop a strong writing voice if you don't read it is very important that you read that you get a sense of the expectations of different kinds of different styles of voices so reading is super important the other thing is that you definitely don't want to try to steal someone else's voice this is not so much because it's wrong or because the other writer will get upset it's more because you will never be able to maintain that voice over the long run the voice will fluctuate it won't be authentic to you and more likely than not you will get frustrated trying to imitate another writers voice and you will lose interest in your novel and stop writing so I'm going to provide five tips on how you can create a strong writing voice that is authentic to you that isn't too difficult to write and one that really represents who you are as a writer and what you want to convey to your readers tip number one is to write with intention so many writers focus on making the sentences sound nice and clear and smooth but they don't focus on what they want to convey emotionally what they want the readers to feel if you write with intention behind the tone that you want to create with your writing you will have a much better time developing a unique voice do you want to write with an exciting tone with the creepy tone with a thrilling tone there are lots of different kinds of tones your writing can convey and you can use specific word choices and phrasing that help to convey that message that emotional message to the reader for example if you want to have a creepy tone or a scary tone to your novel you probably don't want to compare the clouds to fluffy pillows and if you want to create a fun uplifting stone to your style to your voice you probably don't to compare a mountain range to the edge of a serrated knife so you want the word choices your similes the things that you put into your writing to reflect the tone that you want to convey tone is a huge element of voice tip number two is to experiment with point of view some writers are so comfortable writing in a particular point of view that they will not try any other perspectives or any other way of approaching the novel so they always stick with one type of point of view it can be really helpful to experiment with different types of point of view because sometimes your voice will work better in one type than in another type this is actually really common it's fairly unusual for writers to sound equally high-quality in both first-person and third-person usually most writers will be better at one over the other so trying both first-person and third-person as well as both third limited and omniscient can really help you to find a style that works for you another reason that writers don't experiment with point of view is because they believe the genre they're writing in has to be written in a particular point of view but this is not true you can publish in any genre using any point of view if you do it well so don't try to write in a point of view that does not work for you because it will destroy your voice the wrong point of view can make a huge difference between a great voice and one that really struggles tip number three is to edit so many writers believe that there's some sort of supernatural quality once you find your voice that you can just sit down and bang out your scenes and they're perfect the first time this is not how it works there are no published authors on the planet who can write with the perfect voice the first time editing is key to creating a strong and really unique voice if you want your voice to shine you will have to go through multiple times change the wording improve the wording replace weak words replace weak or sloppy similes this is absolutely a necessary part of the writing process so if you write your scenes straight through and you read them back and you look at them and you say my voice doesn't sound good it's just it's not what I want you have to edit it to be what you want it is not going to be perfect the first time I really emphasize this because so many writers will give up because when they write something straight through it doesn't look publishable but it doesn't look publishable for most if not all authors everybody needs to edit and go through their work and improve it it is not going to be right the first time so you can really improve your voice by just spending a lot of time on editing go through multiple times and keep working until you get the voice that you are looking for tip number four is to know the basics sometimes voice can trump basic writing rules but it pays off big time if you know what the basics are this goes beyond just grammar and into things like cliches and passive speech and present versus past tense you need to know the basics of how to construct high-quality sentences that read nicely and that don't fall into the typical kinds of traps there is really no simple way to learn all of these things for some people it just sort of comes naturally and for other people they need to put more active effort into learning it but taking time to read different things writing blogs writing books learning about how to structure a sentence how to avoid collisions and passive speech these things can make a huge difference in the quality of your writing and sometimes what reads is a poor voice is really coming from a poor understanding of the basics and the basic mechanics of how to craft nice sentences and clean clear paragraphs tip number five is to relax it takes a long time to develop your writing voice it's not going to happen right away but the other reason that you can relax is that writing voice is not as important as most people think that it is there are a ton of best-selling authors who do not have anything particularly unique or interesting about their voice but they have nice sentences they're clear it's easy to follow and the story does the rest of the talking if you can craft really strong stories and your writing is competent you will have a pretty good chance at success a super strong snappy modern seeming voice is not a necessary component as long as you can create nice clear sentences and you understand the basics of how to avoid things like I talked about in tip 4 like cliches and passive speech if you understand the basics you will probably have a voice that works well enough to be successful if your stories are strong so sometimes focusing more on the voice is not really very productive because not everybody needs to have a super strong unique or interesting voice you just need to have a voice that works the voice needs to be functional it needs to tell the story it does not need to be anything particularly special I really hope this video gave you a better idea of how you can develop your voice and also help you relax a little bit about voice and I really would love to see more writers just spend the time to edit and to improve in to bring out their voice and not have such high expectations of themselves from the get-go because you really are not going to get it perfect the first time and editing is so important so I hope that you guys found this video helpful if you have any questions or you have any requests for future videos you can post them in the comments I'm still taking questions for the Q&A on Friday which I'm going to break up into multiple parts so I hope that you guys will like and subscribe and share my videos it really helps me out have a good week guys

43 thoughts on “Top 5 Tips to Develop Your Fiction Writing Voice

  1. What books do you recommend for improving writing skills? For the basics, to write clear, clean sentences using proper grammar & usage. There are so many books out there I’m having trouble choosing the right ones.

  2. Hello, Thanks for your videos. They are very usefull. Cuestion: ¿What other YouTube channel, blog or books would you recomended me to follow? Thanks again! 🙂

  3. I hate writing in first person. XD I've tried it once, and it was very hard!!! Now I stick to third person. :'D

  4. Thank you very much, Ellen! I really appreciate this video, it helped me genuinely realize how crucial the editing process is, almost in a therapeutic way. Again, thank you very much from an aspiring writer.

  5. This helped me so much this was a great video and I love to write but I couldn't think of anything I wanted to write thank you Ellen

  6. I wrote tons of fiction. Bread and butter. My series of shorts The Hardest has a mostly dark tone but in 1st or 3rd person.

  7. Life seems difficult
    sometimes and you need assistance in your studies. Go for writing help at

  8. Hi Ellen. I found you videos while surfing for Final Draft. I'm glad I did. Your info is very helpful and you now have a new subscriber.

  9. Excellent advice! Use what works for you. Ive tried the outline and while it does help, I think I am a pantser. But Im trying to go by my outline then fill in the gaps with my characters POV.
    I let them tell the story.
    Now I am FAR from stitching it all together. I have notes ALL OVER THE PLACE. My plan is to put it all down in one spot…
    My struggle is what publishing software to use to complete my book. I have a Mac and I don’t even know how to use it.
    How sad is that? My notes
    Are on my phone and written by hand in a notebook. Somebody help me….

  10. I always say “I’m writing this way…” or “I’m using this word…” because I’m trying to set the tone. My mom doesn’t get it.

  11. I think that many writers fail because they view the EDIT as an INSULT. "It's not personal, it's just business."

  12. Ellen your videos are so helpful to me for two reasons one helping me develop my writing skills, but also to allow me to understand the things I am actually doing well. Thank you for your videos 👍🏻

  13. I can follow all the tips you mentioned except for one: Must read a lot.

    Don't mistake what I mean though, I can read perfectly fine.

    The problem is I fall asleep very, very quickly. I've googled it and followed tips given but I still fall asleep, I still love to write however.

    I feel that with all the tips I've seen/heard I'm wasting my time. I'm questioning if it's worth pursuing this dream anymore.

  14. The ONLY way to write a first novel or story is, First, you slam out the story and push through it to the end. You edit it, and edit it, once you have it PERFECT, exactly how you want it. You take it and immediately throw it in the trash.
    Then you sit down and start your first novel.

  15. Ellen Brock, I want to thank you for your clear view points on Show versus Tell. It had given me a very good understanding on how to apply this information or knowledge.

  16. Hey Ellen, just discovered your channel and very interested to learn how you became a freelance editor, this is something I’ve recently started thinking about a lot and would love to hear how you got into this!

  17. I didn't watch the video but was wonde- Oh, wait a second… What's that? Is that… hello? Oh, is it my writing voice? Hmm, seems strange. I thought you were something to search for? No. Well then, here's to all those people commenting who need not to watch the video, cheers! Naw, don't listen' ta Bridget none. Damn, yous prolly need ta watch yerself a few vids; Dat's just this feller's opinion. Waste dat time 'a yers! Shee-it! KDP already be more dan flooded with dem self published books 'n all. And, if one was looking for a voice while they write, might I suggest, just writing? (clears throat- and buttons top button) You can be just about anybody; that snickering uptight librarian which most seem inclined to adopt, or yous can be dat varmon livin' in dem sticks with dos whiskers stickin off his chin 'n such; now, pass a feller dat moonshine. I's gotz ta' clear this here noodle.

  18. i don't know why, but i really like writing in lowercase. i think it sets a certain type of tone that fits with the story and mood that i want to set. long sentences, overuse of comma's and dashes- it's all on purpose.
    i'm not sure if it works tho, i just found this voice and i'm too shy to let anyone read my writing :]

  19. That explains what a colleague said about two novellas I wrote. She said that they read as if they were written by two different people. Although both of them involved the supernatural (ghost and fox fairy), one was a horror story written for native English-speaking adults; the other was a travel/adventure written for ESL college students. In addition to different target readers, I must have unconsciously used different voices to fit the moods of the stories.

  20. Mhh… some writers really did sit down and did it in one rush : Kafka with "Das Urteil" (The judgement), written in 8 Hours and I think with some work of Bukowski it was simular. However, it's for the most of the writers true I guess and Thank you for the input 😉

  21. I've done both first person and third person limited, but I have a harder time writing through the eyes of a fictional character as if I am them, it just doesn't feel right, so I usually write in third person limited.

  22. Can tone depend on the scene? I don't want to have an ominous tone while writing romantic scenes or happy scenes.

  23. I don't know if it's me but at the beginning of some of your videos there's a scratch sound from my speakers.

  24. Aye how many novels would you say one should have read in order to have developed somewhat of a keen fiction writing ability.

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