Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Finding your voice as a writer
During the two years it took me to write the first book in my series, I struggled mightily to find the narrator's voice. My first writing efforts were dry and objective--the chapters sounded like they'd been written by a former journalist (which I was). In despair I hit the bookstores, looking for inspiration. Ultimately I came across a new (to me) genre called "chick lit". As I read the first few pages of a random book, I grew excited.
"I can write like that," I thought.
After going back to my manuscript, I injected it with the snappy, snarky rhythm of the chick-lit style, including (hopefully) lots of humor. And voila! Dying to be Thin was born.
My new WIP is a thriller--and once again, it was a struggle to find the right voice. This time I read Michael Crichton, Dean Koontz, and Lincoln Child, among others, for inspiration. I studied the way they pull off their narrators' voices, trying to find techniques that would work for me. I visualized how how their various styles would work with the particular story I'm writing.
In the end it was no one particular author, but an amalgam of techniques, that worked.
Joe had some good technical tips about creating voice in his post, "Look who's talking," and Jim has more suggestions in his post, "How can I learn to write like...".
How about you? Do you struggle to find a voice in your stories? What are some of the techniques that you use?