Today I’d like to address Writers as well as Readers.
I have to say that as an author I am constantly trying to learn. Writing is an art and like all arts, you remain in a perpetual state of learning. As you’ve probably seen during a few other posts I’ve been reading a lot of writing help books. It isn’t because I feel that my writing is horrible. Quite the contrary.
It’s improved vastly over the last few years, but I know there is so much more to learn and that in the future, my writing will continue to improve. However, I was between books and haven’t found that one idea that I felt was ready to be down on paper yet, so why not read a few authorly books? It’s been a great way to fill in time, but more than that. While yes, I’ve learned a lot from them I still wasn’t learning precisely what I thought it was time to learn.
This is a concept that I’ve been struggling to pin down for years. Where is my author’s voice? Or more so, what was it even?
It was something I didn’t even understand. I’ve tried over the years to follow blogs, read books, and over and over again I simply wasn’t getting it. What did it even mean to have a unique author’s voice?
I was smart enough to know it was important to have one. It’s one of the underlying currents that you need when writing novels. It gives your stories that uniqueness that is all your own. This puzzled me for years. The continuation of scratching my head while I figured this out. More blog posts later and after all this time, I can finally say that I actually have it now.
Your author voice, that piece that seems so elusive and hard to figure it actually more ingrained in us then we realize. All of this time it has been everywhere I am. It’s in my thoughts, and in my words. The difference is I didn’t know it was there and so I wasn’t using it to my advantage.
Here’s the big secret. Your voice is unique to you. It’s the way you view the world. It’s the coloring you give on every perception of what is going on around you. The things of your past aren’t exactly past. They’ve ingrained themselves into your every day, they’ve altered the way you perceive the world around you and interact with people, things and take on life in general.
So, now I had that figured out how did I turn my voice into my author voice. Again, this seemed absolutely far fetched. Of course, my voice was going to read through the worlds I created, wasn’t that enough…yes and no. Yes, it has been working in the past, but I was still missing something. There wasn’t that connection to my novels that I’ve been longing for, so that required more research.
There is was after more research. It was written so plain and simple. Light bulbs illuminated at such brilliance inside of my head as to blind me from the inside. It all made so much sense. It was so freaking simple and yet that was the complexity of it for me. It was so simply that is was easily overlooked. You’ve got to hate those answers that hide in plain sight.
To find my author’s voice it took a lot of deep thought on my part, and the answers I thought would be easy, weren’t. Write them down. Think about them as you answer these.
What values do you find important? I’m talking about things like courage, sacrifice, true self. What are some of the things you value about yourself, about those around you? If you don’t have the value you wish, which one do you wish you had and why do you value it so much?
Who do you wish won more? The bad guys or the good? What do you read more about? What do you find more in your writings? Why?
Another good question is, what do you hate the most? What is absolutely unforgivable to you?
Now sit back and really think about this. I’m sure some of you can see these values tucked deep down into your manuscripts. Things you put there without even knowing. That is your author voice. It’s the way not only we perceive the world around us, but the way we interact with it and it’s bits hidden within our characters, their lives, and what we put them through.
If you are interested in reading more about these questions and how I discover it. You can find the blog that helped me here. I do suggest that you take the time to read through even more of the blog posts there. I’m sure you will find quite a few that are equally as helpful. I know I have.
As a side note for those that are interested in what is going on with my writing Malevolent Mind is currently with my editor. I’m eager to see what she makes of it and how we can improve the novel even further together. Back to work for me. Remember to L.O.L. (Live it, Own it, Love it) or it isn’t worth doing.