Discovering your writing voice inevitably takes both time and patience. Writing fiction in your journal develops your distinctive style and voice as expressed through your characters. Here are five ways that will help you find your character’s unique voice and style in your fiction journal.
1. Ask what your character values the most
This question will cause you to think about where your character’s moral compass is centered. Take a look at any book by your favorite author and you can find a moral compass within it. What are the most important and driving factors in the characters’ lives? Is it adventure or is it survival? Is it love? Courage? Self-Sacrifice? You can explore the answer to these questions by writing a journal entry from that character’s point of view, by filling out a character questionnaire or through writing prompts.
2. Study the works of your favorite authors
Then you can determine what their style or voice is. You can determine this by spending some time studying and observing how they do it. After a while you will find each author has a kind of rhythm. Do they move quickly or spend more time with description? What is the point of view being used? During this process, you may even find that your style ends up sounding like the writers you’re studying. You don’t need to worry about that because your fiction is most likely never going to be the same.
3. Draw From History
Historical fiction continues to be one of the world’s most popular genres. It can be exciting to imagine just what it would be like to have seen the world from the eyes of Cleopatra, or what it was like to be on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, or what a famous artist like Frida Kahlo or a scientist like Marie Curie experienced. Not only is it interesting to do a little research for a piece of historical fiction, but it can also be a lot of fun to let your imagination put you in their shoes.
4. People Watch
Some of the best ideas for developing characters or fictional situations comes from just watching and listening to others. A snippet of overheard conversation can leave you wanting to hear the other side of the discussion. Their dress, mannerisms, body types, and habits can spark ideas for your fiction that can be expanded upon. Let your imagination run wild.
5. Draw on your own memories or experiences
And adapt it for your fiction – Explore your all of your senses and how you relate to the world. No one else has had the same experiences or memories that you have had. No one will ever see things exactly the way that you do. The things you experience through your senses, the people, places, sights, sounds, smells and the interaction between them and how you put that into words. Inject these things into the experiences, talents and memories of your characters and embellish them to fit within your story. All of this will help project and strengthen the voice within your fiction.