Monday, March 12, 2012

Author’s Voice: An Acquired Taste

It is difficult to pinpoint what creates an author’s voice in a piece of writing, but it is identifiable.

It’s a flavor, a fingerprint, a signature.

It takes more than knowing all the ingredients to create it.  It takes lots of practice and an innate skill.

When my grandmother passed away, we all tried replicating some of her signature dishes.  We knew the ingredients.  We even knew the measurements. Though they turned out good, they weren’t exactly like hers. We lacked her skill, her “fingerprint.”  

When my three-year-old grandson declared Leslie Patricelli as his favorite author, I understood completely. He was identifying with her topics (genre), subjects a little one could enjoy; and he loved the way she said it on paper (voice), using words and images he understood or could envision.

I feel the same way about my favorite authors.  

In good writing, the words and sentences voice the author’s images. There is a cleverness, a freshness in the detail and in the manner how it is said. We get the metaphors.  We feel the emotions. We look forward to the nonconformity and the rebellious non-cliché. We form a camaraderie with the author’s personality. The pacing and the plotting are at our speed, and the mood creates a tone our blood pressure can handle.


  1. Good post as a gentle reminder that we each have our own "voice" and we don't need to copy anyone else. That way it will sound true.

    I plan on coming to the CWG meeting for the first time tonight. Can you give me the details as what your meetings cover? Do I bring something to critique? Just leave the details on my blog at

    1. The Christian Writers Group is not meeting tonight March 12 because of Spring Break and because we hosted a conference this past weekend. Please come next Monday and you do not bring anything for the first two meetings. Just yourself. Hope to see you thee.