Find your Voice and Keep it; it’s Yours
I am a writer first and foremost, author second to that. If you know me or have heard me speak, I have made this statement on multiple occasions, but people around me on a daily basis sometimes forget that I write due to my day job, PRPP (I believe many writers deal with this issue).
The writer’s goal is to evoke emotion. To ensure the audience smiles laughs, cries, becomes angry or hurts for the characters that they’ve created and the story line they’ve developed. All writers/authors hope to fulfill this role successfully. Success can mean many things; dollars as in unit sales, emails from fans, parents reaching out and aspiring writers looking for tips and advice, book signings, and paid speaking engagements.
My intent as a writer/author has never changed. To deliver, regardless of how horrific the topic, stories that have beautiful endings. Why? I just like beautiful stories, happy endings, and believe we do not have enough of them. Therefore I choose to create stories or pieces that have them.
I am a visual writer, so laying out scenes that allow my audience to see what I see in my mind’s eye is important to me. If the reader of my work can visually see in words each scene and take away from it the message I had intended to share, then I feel as if it confirms that the characters and the story line that I had written worked well and unfolded in such a way that I did my job successfully. As long as the audience feels something for the characters the writer creates, that is the best gift an author can receive.
Developing a style is important. I have been called a whimsical poetic writer. I can honestly say there was a time that I did not even know what that was, but I do now thanks to my mentor, Anne Dunigan. Her words are like gold to me; I trust her, especially when it comes to my work. Taking an interest in my work when she didn’t even know me, and she since became my mentor, editor, Acquisition Editor Consultant, and most importantly I am proud to call her my friend.
I do not know if my style will change; time will tell, but I hope not because whimsical poetic has such nice ring to it. My personal delivery of each story varies according to the age level that I write. Elementary chapter books: always a beautiful place to escape, funny and entertaining. Middle school: action, mystery, friendship, yet still end with a fair resolution, and certainly hope to pull off one that the reader would not expect. The YA category brings a new challenge, but exciting ones.
The Greenlee Project is an intense book that deals with bullying and cyberbullying. I’ve been told that it is thought-provoking and stirs all types of emotions across the board, good, bad, angry and sad. True to my style the ending takes people by surprise. Some have said a shocking but wonderful surprise. My latest book BITTER BETRAYAL will be released in April. I’m certain it will evoke emotion and discussions in teens, parents, educators, youth group, and camp leaders. This piece is important to me; but the age group, YA, comes with a tremendous responsibility: writing for young minds in the same category. Some teens are not as mature as they pretend to be, and remembering that the maturity difference between a thirteen-year-old and eighteen-year-old is immense. The whole time keeping in mind the story that I’m writing and the underlying message to the entire age group (thirteen through eighteen), must be delivered appropriately for all to read and enjoy. It is both challenging and exhilarating to maintain my voice through such pieces.
I believe writers must do two things to find their voice and keep it:
(1) Quit giving it away in the first place. Take back ownership of their work, meaning, interview your editor. They should work in close collaboration with you, but not take over your job. Find the right editor and copy line editor and build a relationship that lasts for years. It truly is the best way for a consistent writer. Finding a good editor can take years.
(2) Write work that stirs emotion within you, and worry not what the market says. If you, the writer love it, someone will like it. Find your voice and keep it. After all, it is yours.