Identifying Your Voice and More
Never waste a good depression. I told this to a friend when we were talking about writing, and we both laughed. I was feeling down-trodden, and finally I remembered something. The last time I felt so terrible, I gave birth to a wonderful story. Granted, the story was grim and on the dark side, but, well, it was filled with emotion which originated from my depressed state. Sometimes whatever we are feeling, whether it is happiness or sadness, can help us heighten the emotion and the tone of our stories.
Try writing through your emotions. This will help identify your voice. This will also evoke emotion in your story. You will not only identify your voice and the tone of the story, but your readers will identify with your characters and your story, which is crucial.
Voice, tone, mood–they are all related terms in writing. Just look at the works by Edgar Allen Poe. By analyzing even one paragraph or two, you will notice his word choice and what you feel when you read his work. Stephen King is also brilliant at this, so is Ann Rice. Rosamund Pilcher, who wrote September and The Shell Seekers, is brilliant at creating mood, too. Anne Rice writes like velvet. She is amazing at evoking a sense of time and place, she has a very distinct voice.
Stephen King scares the hell out of his readers, but he is also brilliant at characterization. His voice changes with each book. Rosamund Pilcher is a completely different kind of writer. Older women are her main characters and her voice is also very distinct. When she writes, women can completely identify with her characters and her stories. When I read one of her stories, I feel good to be alive and want to drink aromatic coffee, and place flowers around the house, and curl up with a good book and a mug of hot soup and a blanket around my feet. I curl up my feet when I read Stephen King, as well, but not because I want to be cozy, it’s because I don’t want a hand to emerge from under the sofa and grab my ankle.
In addition to these three brilliant writers, we also have Ken Follett. Again the only word I can use to describe him is brilliant. I love historical fiction, and he is a master. Pillars of the Earth is one of my top five favorite books of all time. There are many wonderful writers, but these are some of my favorites. For historical romance, Bertrice Small is one author who is at the top of my list.
Young adult books have fantastic plots and conflict the same way adult fiction does, but the conflicts are resolved more quickly. My favorite young adult series was written by the late Lloyd Alexander. He wrote the Chronicles of Prydain.
What I am looking for as an editor is, of course, a great story. The story must be polished as much as possible before you send it in. I am interested in historical romance, historical fiction, (example, Girl With a Pearl Earring.), contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, young adult stories, and some types of suspenseful horror.
I simply detest books that are convoluted and end badly. The end of the book should make sense, for better or worse, and should be satisfying in some way. I read an historical romance once that was so terrible I wanted to throw it across the room when I finished reading it. The hero and the heroine not only did not end up together, but the hero was imprisoned for a murder he didn’t commit. Worst of all was the ending. I kept hoping and waiting for justice and happily ever after, but once again I was let down by the story. The hero hangs at the end. That was the stupid ending. If he had committed the murders, well, that would have at least been fair. Anyway, I never read another book by that author and can’t even remember her name.
So, find your voice, write a great story, polish your work, have a good ending, send it in, and we’ll just have us a look. Happy writing!