Your Voice – What Is It? How Do You Find It? by Susan Lute

I have a philosophy in life. Leave no stone unturned. Don’t give up. Have the courage to follow your curiosity. Explore. Learn new things. Keep working at the old things until you get them right. Family is everything.

Don’t ask me who taught me to think this way. It’s my journey. I came hard-wired with this idea about how to wander through life, and I’m sure it makes my family and friends sometimes nuts. You notice I say, sometimes, because this philosophy probably makes me push hard on the ones I love, and also makes me just a little… dare I say the word… “bossy”. Don’t laugh. It’s true. I accept it.

For a long time now, I’ve been trying to understand voice. What is it? How does a writer find her (or his) voice? How does a girl or boy find their voice in a crazy world that is happy to tell them what to think and what they should be doing? It’s why I wrote The Dragon’s Thief. I was determined to find my voice. And I think I did (happy dance, though you can’t see it).

In a recent workshop, Jayne Ann Krentz  said, and I paraphrase, Voice is our world view. It is revealed in the kinds of conflicts we write, the power of our stories, and the characters we create, and ka-ching, a light bulb went off in bright living color. Finally, I get voice. And I think Jayne Ann is spot on whether we’re writers or readers.                                                  

We all have a philosophy we live by. If we tell stories, that outlook informs and gives wings to our novels. As readers, it’s what leads us to find the books we read and the authors we love. We resonate with their voice, their philosophy. And in a funny way, it leads us to turning over those stones, following curiosity, learning new things, and working on the old things until we get them right.

What is your philosophy? Your voice? What stories do you tell? What life do you live?


About Susan

Author, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.

Posted on December 4, 2011, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. If you think about it, Jayne Ann Krentz’s answer also explains why an authors voice resonates so strongly with some readers and not others.


  2. Maggie, I agree. And I love that Jayne is able to put into words what has been troubling elusive to me.


  3. What a great way to define voice. I’ve never heard it defined that way before but it fits. I write about characters who are wounded, in spirit if not physically, and need to overcome those wounds. I also write about characters who feel they are outside the mainstream for some reason. I’m certain both are a reflection of my life and my philosophy. I’ve always felt on the outside, and have overcome plenty of wounds. But I’ve also always been a positive person and someone who never doubted I would move forward and not just survive but thrive.

    I recently read in the RWR that many women who write say they write because it “gives them a voice.” I completely relate to that. Through my characters I can say things I would never say in life. I can do things that take more courage and smart thinking than I can normally manage. I’m sure a big part of my writing is also to say something about themes I care about as well–the relationships and use/misuse of power, sex, and money–and in some small way, through my characters, give a voice to those who have no voice or don’t know how to exercise it.


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