The Journal: Your Unique Voice, Part 2

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* Topic: Your Unique Voice, Part 2
* AI For Audiobooks?
* D2D Acquired Smashwords!
* Of Interest

Quote of the Day

“I’m only the author. I don’t know anything. And I mean that honestly when it comes to my own work.” Dean Wesley Smith

Topic: Your Unique Voice, Part 2

In my previous post I mentioned that to take advantage of your unique, original, authorial voice—to relax and let it flow—you must trust yourself. That’s the simple truth. In this post I’m going to break that truth down to help you see it more easily.

First, you must trust that your voice IS unique.

As part of that, you can also trust that others will find your voice refreshing and new, because they will. I know that’s a stretch for some of you to believe, but the first step on this road is having confidence in yourself.

Boring as your voice sounds to you—after all, you hear it 24/7/365—it isn’t boring at all to people who don’t know you, and that’s the majority of your readership.

Do you consider your favorite author’s voice boring? Of course not, but until that author learned this lesson s/he thought it was. Aren’t you lucky s/he overcame that nonsense? And won’t your readers be lucky that you overcome it too?

Your unique way of telling a story is exactly what thousands of readers out there are longing for. And yet you erase a little of that unique originality every time you apply a revision based on input from any critical mind, even your own.

I’m not talking here about correcting spelling errors or inconsistencies. I’m talking about revising the structure of a sentence or paragraph or other element to “improve” it. Only your (or others’) conscious, critical mind will suggest that your story can be “improved.”

In every case, if that little voice whispering to you is negative, that’s your conscious, critical mind. Never, ever trust your conscious critical mind when it comes to creating anything.

Second, you have to trust the knowledge you’ve gleaned over the years.

You know much more about writing than you’re aware of. For example, do you have to stop and think back about what sort of punctuation to use at the end of a sentence when you’re writing? Of course not. Or do you have to stop and try to remember how to spell almost any word you use regularly? Nope.

That’s because you learned those things long ago. Now they’re part of your creative subconscious. You take them for granted, along with the difference between a noun and a verb and sentence structure and indenting the first line of a paragraph and so much more.

That’s key. You KNOW those things, and more importantly, you TRUST that you know them. You don’t have to second-guess yourself every time they pop up.

Likewise, believe it or not, your creative subconscious has been absorbing information about storytelling since long before you were even aware there was an alphabet.

Storytelling is an instinctual survival skill. Over your lifetime and without even realizing it, you’ve absorbed various types of story structure, characterization, timing and pacing, world-building, and dozens or even hundreds of the other essential elements of storytelling.

So again, you KNOW those things. At present you don’t yet TRUST that you know them, but you need to trust that. Again, not second-guessing yourself is important. Confidence breeds confidence.

Third, and maybe most importantly, trust your characters to tell the story that they, not you, are living.

Just as you need to not second-guess yourself, you also need to not second-guess your characters. In other words, don’t allow your (or others’) conscious, critical mind to question what your characters, through your creative subconscious, have created.

When it comes to writing fiction, your characters and their voices—the way they tell their story through your fingertips on the keyboard—ARE your unique authorial voice.

Nobody else on Earth knows those characters like you do, and nobody else on Earth can be the first to hear your characters’ stories. That’s how special you are, and that’s how unique your original voice is.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with the final installment of “Your Unique Voice.” Until then, happy writing.

AI For Audiobooks?

While I wasn’t looking, AI took a giant leap forward in voicing audiobooks. To see what I mean, visit “Synthetic Voices Want to Take Over Audiobooks” at Be sure to listen to the sample in the post.

Then you can check out the actual website at While you’re there, I recommend clicking the Blog tab too. Here’s an excerpt from a FAQ in the blog:

“Editors can control every detail of the audiobook production process and can choose a voice of either gender for each sentence or phrase. This also allows you to use different languages within a single audiobook.”


D2D Acquired Smashwords!

Yesterday a friend made me aware of this. D2D expects the merger to close on March 1. For details, see “Of Interest.”

In my opinion, this is wonderful news. Those who use D2D gain a storefront (Smashwords) with incredible tools for conducting sales, creating coupons, and so on, all without having to endure Smashwords’ clunky interface.

With the acquisition, I assume D2D will also expand distribution into all of the smaller but still significant markets previously served only by Smashwords.

Probably there will be growing pains and maybe a few headaches. For just one example, should I delete my books that are with both aggregators from Smashwords to avoid conflicts of interest (like a title being distributed to, say, Kobo by both D2D and Smashwords)?

For now I’ll risk it. D2D has said they’ll “work closely” with their retail partners to avoid such problems. All in all, I think this is a great merger.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Draft2Digital to Acquire Smashwords” at

See “Draft2Digital Acquires Smashwords FAQs” at

See “Yo Hablo Espanol, Pero Un Poco Solamente.” at

See “6 Stories About Hunter S. Thompson That Are Totally Untrue” at

Disclaimer: In this blog, I provide advice on writing fiction. I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. To be crystal clear, WITD is not “the only way” to write, nor will I ever say it is. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among myriad other topics.

2 thoughts on “The Journal: Your Unique Voice, Part 2”

  1. Hi Harvey! Just wanted to say how much I’m enjoying these posts on unique voice.

    What you wrote about sentence structure is really spot on for me. I’ve been struggling with my critical voice for the past few months and one thing I’ve noticed (while cycling back) is that I have started tinkering with sentence structure.


    As a result of monkeying around with my sentences, my speed has slowed waaay down too.

    Looks like I’ve got some critical voice to clear out.


    • Thanks, Maggie. You’ll get there. Anyone as devoted to clearing out the myths as you are definitely will be successful.

      I’m sure you’ve also experienced that sick little gut feeling twinge of “Oh oh” while tinkering with sentence structure. That’s your creative voice saying, “Hey, leave it alone. Will your tiny little change matter in the slightest to the reader? Um, nope.” (grin)

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