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The Difference Between Voice and Style in Writing

Here's a simple breakdown explaining the difference between an author's writing voice and writing style.

Q: Could you define the difference between a writer’s voice and style in creative writing?—Ralph G.

(Voice in Writing: Developing a Unique Writing Voice)

A: Here's the breakdown: Voice is your own. It’s a developed way of writing that sets you apart from other writers (hopefully). It’s your personality coming through on the page, by your language use and word choice. When you read a Dave Barry column, you know it’s his. Why? He’s developed a distinct writing voice.

The Difference Between Voice and Style in Writing

Style is much broader than voice. Some writers have a writing style that’s very ornate—long, complex, and beautiful sentences, packed with metaphors and imagery (think Frank McCourt and John Irving). Others have a more straightforward style—sparse prose, simple sentences, etc.

Here’s one way to think about it: WD tries to have all its articles fit a similar style—conversational yet straightforward. But between the covers, each piece is written by a different author whose own voice colors his particular piece. So the continuity of the magazine stays together, but each piece is still different.

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