Rereading Neil Gaiman in preparation for a class I’m teaching this summer, I’m reminded of the importance of voice in fiction. Read him aloudâ€”the prose sings. During the process of writing and rewriting, I often read aloud, and before a piece is doneâ€”poem, novel, short story, doesn’t matterâ€”I print it up and read it through as if for a public reading. Anything I stumble over or doesn’t sound right, I revise until the voice is right. Ideally each piece should have its own distinctive voice, inseparable from the story being told. A story’s not just words on a page, pixels on a screen, it’s someone speaking, inviting others to listen.