If you’ve been into The Writing Center here at MSU, you’ll hear us talk an awful lot about “voice.” How do you create a unique voice? How do you maintain it? Why in the world does it matter?
The short answer is that the voice you use changes the way you connect with your audience.
Sometimes it’s something as simple as the difference between saying, “I saw some kinda eagle the other day” to your friends, or, “I suddenly spotted a majestic winged creature approximately forty-eight hours ago,” in a paper to a writing instructor you’re trying to impress with your eloquence (this usually doesn’t actually work, for the record). In a newspaper, it shows up as “A red-tailed hawk was observed Monday afternoon.”
All say the same things, but differently, and to different people. They sound different, because those lines have the same information with different goals. The first is about starting conversation, the second about sounding cool, the third about impartially relaying information.
The point? The voice you use in writing has to correspond with the purpose you’re trying to achieve. Perhaps the best recent example of this is a game called Bastion.