Lesson 7

Find and perfect your voice

If you haven’t written a novel before, then this will be a critical stage. If you’ve written before, even if just dabbling, it will still be an important step, albeit a shorter one.

It’s a clear and known fact that each author has their own style. If you’re not sure what yours is, the simple trick is to open up a blank document and putting fingers to keys. Whatever comes out is your base style of writing — it could be in the first person, present tense, metaphoric, descriptive, or witty. Anything.

Now take a look at the novels of your chosen genres. Look at a range of different titles and see what the norm is – what readers expect. For example, are they written in the first person? Are they fast-paced? Are they abstract or detailed? From there you can assess whether your natural style will fit with what readers expect and enjoy. It’s especially wise to do this if you’re writing to be commercial.

Now, the important thing is always to play to your strengths. This stage isn’t about scrapping how you write – it’s about identifying areas of expectation and assessing where you could improve, or where you could change something. Even different novels from the same author can have a distinct style, as it’s common for writers to let their voice grow and change.

From this point, it’s all about diving in. Write an opening. Write a first chapter. Test your creative muscle to find out what you can do with it. Then, read your writing back, and whatever sections shine the most, analyze to figure out why. You can apply that to the rest of the novel.

With your style clearly defined, and some practice under your belt, it’s over to you. The novel is now in your hands.

Recommended Reads: