Writing Styles for Fiction: Which Voice to Use

Website design By BotEap.comI recently created a website to promote a new thriller. Once it started getting hits, I started getting questions about why I chose to write in the third person. The truth is that I did not make a conscious decision to write that way. It just happened and I went with it. As I progressed through the manuscript, I found that writing in the third person “flowed” better than any other voice, as I used a lot of dialogue between characters throughout the story. It just fits. Other people wrote and asked what difference the voice you write with makes and that’s what I’ll try to address here.

Website design By BotEap.comFirst of all, choosing which voice to use depends entirely on how you intend to tell your story and how you want your readers to interpret it. You have three voice options to choose from. Consider these very basic examples taken from my upcoming book:

Website design By BotEap.comFirst voice:

Website design By BotEap.com“You’re welcome to live with your old dad Mathew. My door is always open,” I yelled as I got into my car.

Website design By BotEap.comSecond voice:

Website design By BotEap.com“You’re welcome to live with your old dad Mathew. My door is always open,” you yelled as you got into your car.

Website design By BotEap.comThird Voice:

Website design By BotEap.com“You’re welcome to live with your old dad Mathew. My door is always open,” she yelled as she got into her car.

Website design By BotEap.comAs you can see from these examples, the voice used gives the reader an idea of ​​who is speaking in these situations. There are of course other scenarios you could have used, but this illustrates my point on a very basic level. I use the third person almost always in my books and it seems to be the preferred voice for most fiction writing. However, it can get a bit complicated. For example, there are different points of view (POV) of third person.

Website design By BotEap.comThird Person Omniscient

Website design By BotEap.comThe author knows everything about all the characters, including all feelings, emotions, thoughts. The author knows everything and can choose to convey all of this information to the reader, or none of it. Using third person omniscient, the author is in full control to guide the reader and leave no room for interpretation.

Website design By BotEap.comThird person objective

Website design By BotEap.comThe author tells the reader only what a character can see or hear, usually the main character. The reader is left to interpret the feelings and thoughts of the other characters by what they say or do.

Website design By BotEap.comthird person limited

Website design By BotEap.comThe author presents the story from the mind of a single character. This is the most common voice in fiction because it lends itself well to so many different situations.

Website design By BotEap.comWhat about the first and second person voice? I haven’t forgotten about those. Let’s take a brief look at the second person, as it’s the least likely to be used in fiction writing. Writing using the second person point of view can be a bit irritating to a reader and is not used much anymore. Take a look at this example:

Website design By BotEap.comExample: You are going to the movies with a friend. You know that your friend does not want to see the movie, but you remain firm in your insistence. When you arrive at the theater, you see that your friend is completely frustrated.

Website design By BotEap.comWriting in the second person POV uses “you” quite a bit and is often used in the present tense. It bothers me quite a bit to read material that is efficiently written in this voice and I would think that an author would do a great job of keeping readers attention for a long time.

Website design By BotEap.comLet’s take a look at first person POV. First Person POV uses one of the characters to tell the story. First Person POV uses the “I” voice and it can be very powerful as it personalizes the character for the reader.

Website design By BotEap.comExample: I was going to the movies with a friend. I knew she didn’t want to see the movie, but I stuck to my stubborn insistence. When we got to the theater, I could see on her face how frustrated she was.

Website design By BotEap.comHere you can see the same scenario, but now it is told from the POV of one of the characters. Your readers will identify with the character instead of feeling the need to defend against you constantly telling them how they feel. However, be careful when using the first person. It limits you to the point of view of a single character. Your story can easily become very one-sided or boring.

Website design By BotEap.comWell, what about combining the voices? It can be done, but it requires skill and must be done with caution. Most writers tend to avoid the combination, opting instead to pick one voice early on and stick with it throughout the book. The combination can easily confuse both you, as you write, and your readers.

Website design By BotEap.comWhen writing fiction, remember to pick a voice and stick with it. Try using each of the three viewpoints and use the one you feel most comfortable with. Combine if necessary, but be careful and do so sparingly.

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