The “Right Voice”

As writers we all have our own “voice”. It’s what we use to draw in our readers and keep them hooked for the entirety of our work, whether it be 500 words or 500 pages. But I was thinking today: what makes a good voice? I feel there are some writers who have better voices than other writers and that may just be my general opinion on what types of writing I like or it may be a valid observation. Is there a type of voice that everyone in the whole world likes above everything else?

Now, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to answer that question. It’d take a pretty big survey and years of research to truly find the answer to it. It’s really just a musing to get my brain (and yours) working.

For instance, I’ve always been quite a fan of writing that’s a little more abstract. Not in a ‘hey I’m going to make this story vague as hell and make everyone guess what I’m talking about’ type of writing, but a writing that kind of rambles on. Not in a bad, annoying way, but in a way that still flows. If that makes sense. I guess I’m kind of thinking of a JD Salinger, Catcher in the Rye kind of writing. Hopefully you have an idea of what I’m talking about.

Anyway, I’ve always wanted to write in this kind of flowing rambling, but I feel like I’ve only really accomplished it once in my short story The Dream Where Jason Segel is my Boyfriend. The entire story is based off a dream I had so it has to have the rambling, jumpiness that a dream has. Sometimes I feel like people can accomplish that type of writing all the time and it comes out so beautiful. I get kind of jealous of those people. I wish I could be more abstract with my work and have this voice that sounds like an artist wrote it. But not in a pretentious way.

Now, I know there are people who like my writing, because if no one liked my writing I’m sure I wouldn’t have anything published (or in a ‘Best Of’ issue). However, sometimes I’m reading through a magazine or journal that I’m thinking of submitting something to and as I read through the stories I’m just sitting there like: Wow, this is really great stuff. How can I write like this?

But the only way to write like that would be to practice, which I haven’t been able to do in such a long time. Now I’m trying to work on another jumpy, dream like story so I’m trying to get just the right voice for it. Most of the time I like the voice in my writing and out of all the stories I have published, I really like about 80% of them. I’ve heard that writers aren’t really supposed to like what they write, that they need to rely on other’s for that ‘gratification’, but I think that’s kind of silly, really. Why would I write if I didn’t like anything I produced? Although I write to entertain others, I also write to entertain myself. I write because I love what I write and if I really didn’t love it I would probably stop writing altogether (which I did for a time).

I just wonder if there are other writers out there who read my work and think: Wow, this stuff is great. How can I be like this writer?

That’d be pretty awesome.

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