Your Writer's Voice
Just as your vocal cords create a recognizable sound, once you get comfortable with this craft, your writing will stand out from the work of other authors. Those who have read your work before will be able to pick up a book without looking at the cover and say … “Hey, I think I know who wrote this.”
Just as an artist's brush stokes, color choices, and the methods in which he conveys mood are recognizable, a writer's voice also becomes detectable. While two authors may have similar voices, each author's style, word choice, and story selections are unique. In other words, it's okay to resonate the talent from other well-known authors, just make sure it has your own unique appeal.
Voice is a combination of many elements. It isn't a genre; it is how you approach the genre. Jennifer Crusie's voice isn't humor; it's her own unique style of humor. Tami Hoag's voice isn't suspense; it's how she evokes suspense. Voice can also cross genres because it involves things such as word choices, sentence structures, and the mood and feel of a book. Tone is a strong indicator of voice. Some writing voices are said to be poetic, gritty, quirky, or sensual.
One method of understanding voice better is to read several books, back to back, by an established writer who is known to have a strong voice. As you read, study the common elements in the different novels. Read aloud and listen to how the stories sound, take note of how the stories make you feel, and how the words and sentences are put together to create images.
The best way to discover your voice is to write and keep writing. Try your hand at different genres and experiment with tones. Try to write passages in a very poetic voice, then attempt to be gritty and dark. If one seems to feel right, keep working on it. Many writers will note another author's voice before they will recognize their own.
While there may always be some recognizable qualities of an author's voice in everything she writes, writers can learn to improve and change the quality of their voice very much like singers can learn to control pitch and tone.