Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A writer's voice

Tip of the Day: want a good laugh…check some of these slush pile gems.

When I first started writing, many of the books, blogs, and articles I read talked about how important it is to find your voice as a writer. So being the newbie that I was, I really tried to hone my writing voice. After many attempts, things started to get easier when I found a writing style that worked for me.

But after a few years, what happens if your writing voice changes?

Just like our own voices literally change when we hit puberty, as you mature in life your outlook and how you view the world changes. Sometimes things happen that switch your mood. You aren’t always happy or always sad. Your emotions are constantly changing. And as you learn new things, I think your inner voice changes. So I think it’s natural that your writing voice can change as well.

Maybe it’s a sign of the recession or maybe it’s the general trend of darker, supernatural stories, but it seems that a lot of my favorite writers seem to be writing a bit darker than normal. Not as much humor. Their voices haven’t changed completely, but they might be a bit more formal with their writing than in books past and there are a bit more serious undertones in their work.

Has anyone else noticed this? Or is it just me?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m all for growing as a writer and challenging yourself. And as a reader, I always like to be surprised by what I’m reading. As long as you keep your endings happy if you always have happy endings, or keep some of your signature voice in your books, I really don’t care.

I just think it’s interesting it seems to be happening more lately.

What about other people? Do you dislike it when one of your favorite authors tries something new and branches out? Maybe tries a historical fiction, which has a very different literary voice than a contemporary? Or writes from a boy perspective, which is going to have a different voice than that from a girl.

Or is their voice and how their sentences are structured similar enough that you don’t even notice and the voice you enjoy so much still comes through?

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


Kristina Springer said...

I laughed so hard I cried reading the slushpile page. Soooo funny!

DeenaML said...

That slushpile page is freakin hilarious!

Em, really interesting post! I think of Laurie Halse Anderson, how she writes historical work and contemporary, but they are all realistic. If she did a supernatural, I'd still read it bc she is a great storyteller but until it happens I can't say for sure....

I know it worked well for Alyson Noel with The Immortals series. She told me she switched to paranormal romance after she lost someone and it was a book she had to write despite her previous history of contemp realistic girl books. Very interesting!