Diction. Voice. Tone. All three of these things are very different, but I want to talk about diction as to how it relates to tone and voice.
In non-fiction you diction and voice will be determined by topic. If you’re writing about a murder or serial killer or a disaster, then you probably want to avoid diction, voice and tone that do not convey the austerity of the material.
In that same vein, if you are new to writing, or maybe if you aren’t, you want your voice to be yours. It should be clear, consistent and something that is yours alone.
Simply put, my advice is to write in the same way you talk. Now, that doesn’t mean all the colloquialisms we all use. I’m from the South, and Lord knows you don’t want us using our slang a whole ton in a non-fiction project. But, you should write in the voice and with the diction that is most comfortable to you.
If you aren’t funny, don’t try to be. If you don’t use a highly-educated vocabulary, then don’t write with one.
So, while the tone should match the topic, the diction and voice should be specific to you.
We all have a distinctive way of telling stories, and that’s just what this is.
It is critical for you to find your voice – find what it is that makes you YOU.
You should be comfortable in your voice and diction. None of it should feel forced, and you definitely shouldn’t feel like you’re trying to balance something that isn’t wholly yours.
Readers may not know all the rules and terminology with writing, but they certainly know when something doesn’t feel authentic and/or when something isn’t working the way it should be.
That’s why, as a writer, it is vital for you to establish your own voice. Write with the diction and voice that you are the most comfortable writing in. And don’t stop there. Perfect it. Explore it. Play with it. The only way to get better at writing is reading what others do and experimenting with your own style.
So don’t be afraid to play with your voice to perfect it. You can always use backspace if you need it.