The Stuff of Life

Voice in the Writing World



The term voice gets thrown around a lot in the writing world. It is one of those concepts that I feel should be  easy to grasp, but is just out of my reach. I am not convinced I know what my voice is.

I am, however, learning what it is not. Over my past couple years of freelancing, I have had two specific experiences when I read my published piece and thought, “Hmmm, that doesn’t sound like me.” Sometimes editors make very few changes to my original submission, but twice my words have been changed to the point that though the idea is still there, the words don’t feel like they came from my mouth…or my keyboard as the case may be.

Part of dealing with that is knowing who I am submitting to and realizing that as a publication, they have a certain “voice” and my “voice” has to fit theirs if they are going to print it. I understand that, and I’m okay with it.  For goodness sakes, I even signed off on the final edits. But I have to giggle to think that in my most recently published story, great liberty was taken with my conclusion.

Here’s the last sentence as I submitted it.

“Instead of sharing brief, frustrating dialogue on the way home from school, we now experience cherished conversations at bedtime.”

Here’s the last sentence as it was published.

“Angels scratched the itch of a curious mom.”

What? 🙂 Those of you who know me are giggling right now too, aren’t you?

The magazine is Angels on Earth ( a publication of Guideposts). It fits their voice perfectly to have finished the piece in that manner. They publish some very heartwarming stories, and I am honored and thankful to have been published in their magazine.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to giggle every time I read the last sentence.


Author: Kim Harms

I am the wife of a guitar-playing, worship-leading, adventure-loving husband. I am the mother of three incredible sons: two of whom recently surpassed me in height, and one of whom I am going to pretend is still my baby. I am saved by grace; a daughter of the King who was and is and is to come. *** I am a regular contributor at Today’s Christian Woman, a monthly blogger at Inspire a Fire and have freelanced for a variety of publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul and Guideposts. *** The 500 Dresses ministry that I started with my mom in 2010 is our way of answering the call to serve those in poverty.

4 thoughts on “Voice in the Writing World

  1. I like your ending much better. Maybe because I’m a mom and I know what that’s like, maybe not. I don’t even get their last sentence. I would laugh too!

    • I didn’t mention that my story was about how my kids tend to open up to me best when I’m scratching their backs at night. That’s the connection with the last sentence. 🙂

  2. I never thought about this. I have much to learn about writing and publishing… I totally can’t see you saying it the way they ended it… it makes me giggle a little too! 🙂

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