Voice is one of the most difficult writing terms to define. We might know it when we see it or read it, but what’s voice made of? You hear so often that agents and editors want “new voices” and “compelling voices”. So what is voice? How do you cultivate it?

Voice is the sensibility with which an author writes. It’s a perspective, an outlook on the world, a personality and style that is recognizable.

So what makes a good voice? How do you cultivate one?

Let’s start with style.

Style: At its heart, voice is about style in the sense of a flow, a rhythm, a cadence to the writing, a vocabulary, lexicon, and slang the author is drawing upon. An author’s voice can be wordy or it can be spare. It can be stylish and magical or it can be wry and gritty. It can be tied to unique locations or it can be almost wholly invented. But whatever the flavor of the writing, a good voice has a recognizable style.

What is your definition of voice? How would you describe your style? Is it loud or subtle or friendly or provocative?