What are the defining characteristics of a story, and why do we as humans connect with them?
How do we incite Empathy?
Through our voice.
What is Voice?
Voice is the heart of the piece. It's not just the words and what they intimate, but the feeling that you create when you write. It's the way the sentences are drawn together, what images you elicit, drawing the souls of your characters out and how you react to them as a writer and how the reader should react to them.
Voice is where you train your reader to expect things from you as the writer.
Voice is how you share the most intimate details to help your reader understand the piece.
Voice is putting yourself out there.
So, how exactly do we connect with our readers through empathy and voice?
By writing the things that they can relate to.
Let me relay this through Psychology for a moment. Often, we forget that we're not the only ones going through something. Other's have felt the way we felt. Maybe not exactly because circumstances are never exact and everyone reacts differently based on influences and childhood experiences.
People can relate, sympathize and empathize based off of their own experiences, and they project those feelings on what you're trying to create. (Which is why works of art can't be considered "Good" or "Bad." They just are waiting for the right people to appreciate them.)
So, how do we find and hone our own voice?
Art isn’t transferable. One of the sad truths that non-writers/non-artists don’t understand when they say, “You should write/draw this.” Art is a voice that we have inside that speaks to us, enlightens us, and helps us see and understand the bigger picture through small means. As Artisans of our craft, we have to find our own voice. We do that through consistently shaping it, practicing and studying.
Experts quibble over whether or not you should write the truth. Unfailingly, whether you write “truth” or not, it’s a self-portrait. You can’t not write the things that your soul ponders.
You can’t be told how to find your voice. You’ll just have to do that on your own. All I can do is suggest that you read widely to get the feel for what voices you understand innately. You'll know because they’ll jibe with you like vibing on the same frequencies, which will help you understand yourself.
And also, to write often and about as different subjects as you delight. Everything from Self-Help in Nonfiction to Biographies/Memoirs to obscure niches in Fiction. Write what excites you. That is how you’ll find your voice.
Sometimes stories just want to come out. They’ll come to you in the shower or while you’re sleeping. It’s important to capture them in those moments where they’re most ready to come and freely flowing. It’s the Muse telling you what to write, how to fix a scene, or how to stay true to the theme of your book.
This is also voice. It echoes a voice which begins to take shape from the very beginning. Follow it to learn the heart of your piece.
I hope this article helped you.