Wednesday, July 2, 2014
The Insecure Writer and Losing Your Voice
Today is July's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.
Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?
Because I seem to have lost my voice.
I don’t mean from yelling during the World Cup. I’m referring to my writing voice. That little piece of you that goes into everything you write, whether you realize it or not.
Voice is one of those hard to describe things, but I like to think of it as the sum of all those choices you make when you write. It’s the kind of humor you use (or don't use). It’s how close or distant you make your POV. It’s the ratio of showing vs. telling that feels right for the story. In other words, it's the things that makes your story different from all the other stories out there with the same plot as yours. It’s what agents and editors look for when they read your manuscript.
My voice borders on the whimsical, which is probably why I liked the Harry Potter series so much. But I spent this past week looking back over earlier chapters of my story and my voice seems to be missing. It's there in the earlier drafts, but it's been steadily disappearing with each subsequent draft. Turns out I'd tried so hard to follow the rules, I'd driven the voice right out of my story. Not good.
So my new goal is to make sure my voice comes through loud and clear in each new draft. I can’t guarantee anyone will like it, but at least it won’t sound like everyone else's stories.