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How to Find and Develop Your Voice as a Fiction Writer


Finding Your Voice as a Writer

When you're writing fiction, it's important to find your voice. This means finding a unique way to communicate your ideas and experiences to readers. You don't have to be a poet or even a novelist to find your voice as a writer, but it's important to use the English language well when writing fiction.

Figurative Language

One way to improve your writing is to use figurative language effectively. For example, when you describe a character as having "an ocean of knowledge," you're using a figure of speech called metaphor. This type of colorful, poetic language helps readers understand the character better by giving them a visual image.

Active and Passive Voice

Another way to improve your writing is to use active and passive voice correctly. Active voice is when the subject of the sentence is doing the action, and passive voice is when the subject is being acted on. For example, in the sentence "The door was opened," the subject is "the door." In the sentence "The door was opened by someone," the subject is "someone." In most instances, you should strive to use active voice over passive voice.

By using these techniques, you'll be able to improve your writing skills and find your voice as a writer.


Crafting an Effective Narrative Voice

There's no one right way to write, but there are certainly ways that can produce better outcomes for your fiction. By crafting an effective narrative voice, you'll be able to engage readers on an emotional level and keep them turning the pages.

The Benefits of Writing Well

  1. You'll Be More Engaging: A good narrative voice will pull the reader in and keep them glued to the page. This is because they're engaged by the story and want to find out what happens next. Ineffective narratives often leave readers feeling bored or disengaged, which can decrease sales figures significantly.
  2. You'll Keep Readers Hooked on the Story: When a reader is hooked on a story, they're much more likely to stick with it. This is because they're emotionally engaged and interested in what happens next, which in turn makes them more likely to buy your book or sign up for your newsletter.
  3. You'll Enhance Memory Recall: Writing well will also enhance memory recall. This is because when a story is well-told, it becomes embedded in the reader's mind. They can then bring those memories back whenever they want and be drawn into the story all over again. This can make reading more enjoyable and help you to retain information better overall.

So whether you're looking to improve fiction sales or simply want to produce an engaging narrative voice that readers will love, writing well is a key factor to consider.

Crafting Your Style and Voice

When it comes to crafting an effective narrative voice, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, make sure your writing is clear and easy to follow. Avoid choppy sentences and too-long paragraphs, and keep your language simple and straightforward. Additionally, be sure to show characters' actions using strategic dialogue and descriptive language when describing your characters and setting.

All of this will help readers feel as if they are right there in the story, experiencing everything along with the characters. Finally, be sure to use your voice to convey the tone of your story. Whether you want to write lighthearted fiction or a dark mystery, find the tone that works best for your story and use it throughout your writing.

Understanding Grammar Rules and Usage

Good storytelling is all about taking the reader on a journey, engaging them emotionally and intellectually, and leaving them with a positive feeling. You want them to feel like they've actually been to another place and have gone through or witnessed the events of the story. To achieve this effect, it's essential to use an effective narrative voice.


More on the Narrative Voice

Every story is told in a specific way from a specific point of view. From the first-person point of view (I, me), to the third-person limited point of view (He, she, Sue), to the omniscient narrator (Godlike Observer). The narrative voice is the voice that dictates how readers will experience the story: as though they are sitting in on the conversation or reading one of those long, interesting articles from The New York Times.

There are three main types of narratives:

  1. A story told by someone who is directly involved in events;
  2. A story told by someone who is observing events from a distance; and
  3. A story told by an omniscient narrator.

The first two types of narratives are usually used to tell stories with a personal feel. For example, when you're reading a novel, you're inside the head of the protagonist. The third type of narrative is usually used to tell stories with a more objective feel, like when you're reading an article about history. The omniscient narrator sees all, and knows all.

When choosing a narrative voice, it's important to consider the story you're telling. For example, if you're writing a romance novel, you might want to use the first person point of view to make the reader feel like they're on the journey with the characters.

Understanding Grammar Rules and Usage

While it's important to use an effective narrative voice, it's also important to understand grammar rules and usage. For example, when you're writing about someone speaking, it's important to use proper verb tense (I was eating my breakfast), pronunciation (she sells seashells by the seashore), and sentence structure (I went to the store).

By understanding grammar rules and usage, you'll be able to write stories that are both accurate and engaging.

Using Figurative Language Effectively

Narrative voice is an essential component of any fiction writing, whether it is a novel or a short story, and it can be difficult to achieve. Effective use of figurative language can help you create a skilled and engaging narrative voice, which can lead readers deep into your story.

Figurative language is the use of vivid, imaginative words to describe things that are not actually present. For instance, when a character describes a sunset as "blood red," they are employing figurative language. Sunsets actually appear yellow or orange to the average human eye. By using figurative language in this way, the author is able to evoke tremendous emotion in their reader by evoking images and memories rather than simply describing what's occurring on the page.

Figurative language should never be used gratuitously. If an image or metaphor is not essential to the story, it should be avoided. Care must also be taken to ensure that the figurative language is used in a consistent and appropriate manner. For instance, a character who is frequently described as "tall" should probably not be described as being "like a tree."

By using effective narrative voice and figurative language, authors can create stories that are both engaging and memorable.


Incorporating Description and Imagery

One of the most important aspects of writing fiction is to use descriptive language and imagery to paint a vivid picture in the reader's mind. When writing, it is important to remember that not all readers will be familiar with all the terminology used in the writing world. However, by incorporating descriptive language and imagery into your writing, you can help your readers picture what is happening in your story.

One way to incorporate descriptive language and imagery into your writing is to use concrete examples. For example, when describing a character's appearance, describe their clothes in detail, including the color, fabric, and style. When describing a scene, give a detailed description of the setting, including the color of the sky, the temperature, and any other details that would help the reader visualize what is happening.

Another way to incorporate descriptive language and imagery into your writing is by using metaphors. For example, when describing a character's emotions, describe them as if they are tangible objects. When describing a scene, describe it as if you are watching it play out in front of you. By using metaphors and other descriptive language, you can help your readers visualize and see in their mind's eye what is happening in your story.

Incorporating descriptive language and imagery into your writing can be a difficult task, but by using these techniques you can help your readers picture much more vividly what is happening in your story.


Editing and Revising Fiction Writing

Fiction writing is all about creating a story that readers will want to read from beginning to end. To do this, you need to use effective figurative language and effective, appropriate storytelling techniques.

For example, when Jane says, "He was as big as the elephant in the room," she is using a figure of speech called a simile. This means that she is comparing the man to an elephant but she does not necessarily mean that he was like an elephant." Even though the man might be a large man, we have to look beyond his size and toward what is meant by the phrase "the elephant in the room." Most of us know this phrase refers to something big and overarching that no one is talking about or is willing to bring up.

Storytelling devices such as foreshadowing and cliffhangers can also help keep readers engaged.


Foreshadowing is when a story hints at something that will happen later on in the story. For example, suppose Jane has a little brother who is always getting into trouble. In one section of her novel, she might write, "Jane's little brother was climbing trees and smashing flower pots." This line may foreshadow the fact that in the next section of the novel he will eventually get into bigger trouble as a result of his climbing trees and smashing flower pots.


Cliffhangers are another storytelling device that can keep readers reading until the very end. Imagine you're reading a chapter of your favorite book and suddenly you reach an unexpected moment where you have to stop reading for a few minutes because you need to do something else. If your favorite author wrote a chapter like that, you would be very disappointed.

However, in some cases, authors use cliffhangers to keep readers engaged by leaving them on the edge of their seats. For example, suppose Jane has a chapter where she is telling the story of how she and her little brother went fishing one day. The chapter might end with this sentence: "They caught a big fish." However, if Jane wanted to leave her readers wondering what happened next, she could write something like: "Afraid of worms, she baited the hook with the smallest one she could find, and her little brother cast his line and hooked used it to hook a freshwater catch that took two men, their dad, and their uncle, to pull it out of the water and onto the shore."

This line not only reveals that they caught a big fish together, but it tells us a lot about the size of the fish and creates a cliffhanger to keep readers reading. Who wouldn't want to know more about the big fish Jane's little brother caught with the smallest worm she could find?

By using effective figurative language and storytelling techniques, you can craft an effective narrative that readers will love.


Developing Strong Editing Skills

In order to develop strong editing skills, it is important to have a clear understanding of the different types of edits and how they can be applied to fiction writing. There are five main kinds of edits that can be performed on a piece of fiction: line level, character level, plot level, structural level, and content level.

  • Line Level Edit: This type of edit is focused on sentence structure and grammar. It includes things like checking for redundancies, inconsistencies in tense or punctuation use, and fixing spelling or grammatical mistakes.
  • Character Level Edit: Character level edits involve looking at plot arcs, motivations, and conflicts as well as the development of secondary characters. They also check for consistency in characterization across scenes, plots, and subplots.
  • Plot Level Edit: Plot-level edits focus on the overall structure and pacing of a story. They check for inconsistencies in plot points, plot development, and scene sequencing.
  • Structural Level Edit: Structural level edits look at the overall structure of a story, including its setting, plot, and characters. They also check for inconsistencies in theme and tone.
  • Content Level Edit: Content level edits focus on the accuracy of the details in a story. They check for inconsistencies in factual information, scientific accuracy, and geographical locations.
You must read in order to learn to write!

You must read in order to learn to write!

Resources for Further Learning

When it comes to writing fiction, one of the most important skills you can develop is the ability to use the English language well. Using the language well means knowing how to structure your sentences, knowing how to choose the right words, and making sure your story is clear and engaging.

There are many resources available to help you improve your writing skills. Here are a few to get you started:

  1. Read literary fiction. This will help you learn how to structure a story, use dialogue well, and develop characters.
  2. Use online resources. There are many online tools that can help you improve your grammar and vocabulary.
  3. Attend writing workshops. Attending workshops and taking courses led by knowledgeable professionals can provide you with feedback on your work, as well as tips on how to improve your writing skills.

In conclusion, writing fiction is an art form that requires careful craftsmanship to create a captivating and believable story. It involves the skillful use of the English language and thoughtfully constructed storytelling techniques such as character development, dialogue, imagery, description, and pacing. By understanding the components of good fiction writing and employing these strategies with precision in your work, you and other writers can be well on your way to crafting compelling stories for readers to enjoy.

If you enjoyed and/or learned from reading this article, be sure to read my writing guide titled How to Start Writing Fiction.