Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What the Hell is Writing In My Own Voice?

Painting by Sally Touch-Moser

Ah well, another day - another rewrite. I had a few things that were really bugging me about my manuscript, it took me forever to realize what it was. And the thing that made me figure it out was actually the words that hurt me the most. "I like the concept of the novel. Unfortunately, though, I don't think it is quite right for me. The narrative voice did not really work for me, I did not connect to it as much as I had hoped, thus, I am stepping aside for an agent who will." An agent commented that he didn't identify with the voice in my writing. Of curse, I felt like he was saying he didn't like the way I spoke, because after all I am the narrator. Until I remembered something my husband said to me months ago when I read him a few pages "it doesn't really sound like you. It's good but..."

My biggest mistake was taking those things personally and not listening. When I finally heard what they were both saying, I was able to give myself permission to write in my own voice. I don't know why I'd been afraid to before now, maybe I thought I was supposed to come with this magical writer's voice. I don't know, but when I looked at my manuscript with new eyes, I saw it. I was lost in there, only pieces of me were coming through the pages.

I decided to take it a chapter at a time and find me, strengthen my voice, my words and tell my story - my way.

My mistake had been to follow some imaginary leader instead of forging my own path.

Baaaaad idea. I've ripped apart four chapters so far, and I love them! Once again, learn from my mistakes and give yourself permission right up front to be you and write in your own way, not by how some book or teacher tells you to write.

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