I'm more abstract than concrete; more intuitive than sensory. So, much of the time, I'm content to use words that I understand both abstractly and intuitively, in context rather than by dictionary definition. Sometimes, though, I should be bothered by the fact that this comes uncomfortably close to a charge that's been leveled at my temperament type in general: "Tends to believe 'I know all about that,' but when pinned down to explain and define terms, proves to not know much at all."
So what is this thing called VOICE? It's been discussed in a myriad of places, and we may not need another, but I feel the need/desire to state in a fairly concise manner what I believe it means for me and my writing, rather than rely on others' definitions or be all head-in-the-clouds imprecise about it. So, here follows my attempt at a definition:
VOICE (in writing): The intelligent designer, authority, or god behind the book, who speaks it into being and decides what it shall be made of. The essence and expression of one's "authorness" in the writing of it. In first-person, this voice is bestowed on and channeled through the narrator. In third person, it's expressed through the author's narrative persona.
What's TONE, then? My definition: The conveyance of an overall mood or emotion that pervades a book or scene, such as foreboding, humor, sarcasm, warmheartedness, and so forth.
STYLE seems broader, and I've had to give this a fair amount of thought, because I realize that the way I've defined VOICE makes it the top authority in our writing (and conflicts somewhat with other things I've thought/written about voice), yet it's a new-ish idea for me to state that style does not encompass voice. If voice is the authority, then it seems it would have to be voice that determines style.
STYLE: The voice's expression of the prose itself, in sentence structure, meter, word choice, punctuation, and connectivity between one idea and the next (for example, a style could be smooth and fast-paced if that connectivity is strong and direct, or convoluted and more leisurely if the author takes the scenic route).
What do you think? And how important is it that we define these terms?