Like many writing terms, “voice” can be a little ambiguous, mainly because it happens at three levels: the writer’s voice, the narrator’s voice, and the character’s voice. And like many writing subjects, voice can seem elusive when you are learning. Often we know it when we see it, but what is it?
I’ve written posts on character voice before: “What You Need to Know Most About Character Voice,” “Dos and Don’ts for Writing Your Viewpoint Character’s Voice.” But I’ve never really talked about the author’s voice. Probably because it’s not so much something you learn as something you already have and develop. And for the narrator’s voice, well, in most stories, it’s often very similar to the writer’s or the character’s voice. It can all get pretty tricky pretty fast. Recently, I was on The Rebel Author Podcast as a guest to talk about character voice, and when preparing, I spent some time thinking about the other two types. So in this post, I’d like to define and talk about each.