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Your writer's voice matters: Editor's Notes #327
November 25, 2020

People often lack any voice at all in their writing because they stop so often in the act of writing a sentence and worry and change their minds about which words to use.
—Peter Elbow

In this issue:

1. Your writer’s voice matters
2. Tickled my funny bone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt
5. My Covid-19 offer to you

1.Your writer’s voice matters
Five years ago, I wrote about a writer’s voice. Recent interactions with writers suggest it’s time to revisit the topic.

Since that last issue on voice, my bank has instituted voice recognition as an extra layer of security when discussing accounts on the phone. In a psychology class I learned that a mother uses different voices for each of her children. This is so clear that in a busy household, the targeted child almost always responds, and non-targeted children almost always ignore messages not intended for them.

Like my physical voice and those of mothers everywhere, you have a literary voice. It is unique among writers. Often an editor is first attracted to a piece of writing because it has a voice that stands out. Readers can choose to read books with a distinctive voice without even knowing that voice enters into their choice. No matter who is reading your work, your voice matters.

Many writers naturally write in their own voice, and if you are one of those, hurray! Many others write in a mish-mash of voices or struggle to copy the voice of a favourite writer or the voice a writing teacher preferred.

When we begin to write, it’s normal to copy the writing we read. And as writers, we need to write in the voices of our characters. We also need to write in different registers. A FaceBook post, an academic paper, and a thank you note should all have a different sound. But under them all, are our own voices.

If you find the issue of voice challenging, I recommend you read the Interesting Web site below. Use any parts that speak to you to improve your understanding of your own voice. I wish you comfort in the use of your unique writing voice.

The world needs your voice. Own it, and hone it.

PS. If you have the skill of consistently writing in the voices of other writers, you may have a career ghost writing.

2.Tickled my funny bone
It's not hard to meet expenses...they're everywhere.

3. Interesting Web site
For lots more on what goes into a writer’s voice along with examples, click this link.

4. Writing prompt
Write a piece of dialogue between two or more characters using only the words each says. Ask someone else to read it aloud. You know you’ve nailed it if the reader reads the words as you intended them to sound.

5. My Covid-19 offer to you
People from all over the world read Editor’s Notes, and we are not all experiencing Covid-19 in the same way. I often dream of New Zealand, and I am grateful that I am not living in a hot spot, even though right now, our spot is warming up alarmingly. No matter where you live, the virus has an impact, so I am still offering my Covid-19 reduced rates to everyone.

What follows is a copy and paste from issue number 309. It’s still in force for you and anyone you choose to tell about it.

Along with the health threat hanging over the world, we are facing a huge financial hit. I’ve decided one thing I can do is to make quality editing less expensive during this trying time.

For subscribers to Editor’s Notes and their friends, I am suspending the fee for the sample edit to anyone using the code EN19 until I cancel this offer. I intend to keep this offer open as long as the world is in crisis with Covid-19 and its aftermath, so watch this space. I will give a warning here before I pull this offer. You can submit your writing sample at Be sure to click the link below the heading "Promotion Code" to get to the special form for a free sample edit. If you find yourself at a form before clicking the special link, scroll slowly back up the page, and you should see the link for the code (EN19).

But it gets better…

When I return an edited writing sample, I include quotes for the full range of my editing services. Until further notice, I will give a true quote, but I will not charge writers the full amount. I am discounting my services 50% for subscribers to Editor’s Notes and their friends. I will give a warning here before I pull this offer.

Feel free to pass this offer along to any writing friends you think may be interested. As long as anyone uses the code, I’ll honour the offer.

This is what I can offer you in this time of crisis. I hope it encourages you as you face possible illness and financial uncertainty.

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