Making Your Voice Stronger

Your best assets as a writer are a lively curiosity and a love of language. They are the wellsprings of a powerful narrative voice.

Curiosity fuels the imagination. While someone else might see what you do and ignore it, curiosity nudges you in the ribs and asks, "What if...?" It pushes you to take a closer, harder look not only at what strikes you as strange but at what seems familiar or commonplace. When you cultivate your curiosity—by learning new things, going to new places, meeting new people, listening to new points of view—it rewards you with ideas and insights from which you can create compelling stories.

Language, with all its sprawling, hurly-burly exuberance, its rules and exceptions to rules, its bounds and the leaps that take it beyond the bounds, its color and flash and stillness and motion, is the stuff that your writer's voice is made of. Language gives you the means to express your ideas and insights, to throw open the doors of your imagination and let people enter. Your job as a writer is to use language with precision and purpose. As you learn to control it and make it do your bidding, your voice will become stronger and surer.

Here are some suggestions to help you develop a clear, vigorous, and confident narrative voice:

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