Figuring out what your writing voice is can be lots of fun, and when you’re writing for kids, that voice can even be silly. Yes, silly. Think about Dr. Seuss. His writing voice was distinctive and poetic and absolutely silly, though it made quite a lot of sense.
But everyone’s writing “voice” is different. Think of it like the sound you hear in your brain when reading. That’s the author’s voice.
There are obviously different types of voice, and not all voices are appropriate for all ages or purposes.
For example, when writing for kids, you want your voice or tone to be friendly and non-threatening, especially when they’re very young.
Or, if you’re writing academic works of serious nonfiction, you’ll want a more formal tone, meaning third person and no contractions.
- So, what’s your story?
- Who are you writing it for?
- What’s the purpose of the writing?
Those three things will determine the voice you should employ.
But you might want to try out a few different voices. Before you start the actual writing, you may want to try some writing samples with different tones to see which one works best for what you’re trying to do.
The only time you need to fit your voice to fit the assignment is when you’re writing for a magazine. Then, you need to read several issues of that magazine and be sure that you’ll reach the readers with the voice that you employ.
Sometimes, if you’re writing on assignment, this will also be true. For example, the last four biographies I wrote required a certain tone and I had to work to fit the mold. It took a couple of tries before the editor was happy with the voice I used.
So, it’s all relative. Voice is a distinct mark of who you are as a writer. The best writers can fit any tone to match what’s required.