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.

By KimHarms

Kim Harms is an author, speaker, and part-time library assistant with two decades of freelance writing experience. She has a degree in English from Iowa State University. She and her husband Corey have three super-awesome sons and one crazy dog. A two-time breast cancer survivor, her first book, Life Reconstructed: Navigating the World of Mastectomies and Breast Reconstruction (Familius), is a guide for women walking the breast cancer road. She is currently working on her second book, a devotional for women going through breast cancer.


  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!

    1. 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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