Monday, September 30, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Okay, relax - this is NOT a Christmas post. I happen to be one of those people who prefers to take my holidays in sequence, thank you very much, so no fa-la-la-ing until AFTER Thanksgiving! I work in a retail environment, and the Christmas displays are driving me bonkers.

No,what this title refers to is VOICE. It's that nebulous, intangible thing that makes or breaks an author for a reader. The stronger the voice, the stronger the reader reaction. Impossible to define, unmistakable to recognize. Light or dark, funny or serious, folksy or collegiate, warm/chatty or dry. Think of your favorite author. How would you classify their writing - the tone, the effect? What resonates with you? When you try to convert someone else to your favorite author, how do you describe their writing? That's their voice. It's a style that carries over from book to book - how you can TELL something was written by so-and-so. No matter the story characters and setting, it just sounds like them.

Julie Garwood's historicals are like that. Love them!

I grew up  reading Mercedes Lackey. Especially Valdemar. I was immediately drawn into her informal style of writing and dialogue. When I started writing, it carried over so more than one RWA-chapter-contest judge commented "You sound like Mercedes Lackey." Which I took as a high compliment - she's my idol.

I mostly write fantasy romance - the Guardians of Light series for Samhain Publishing. I have a fabulous editor there, Linda, who loves my voice and has helped me develop it further. I'm one of those writers, though, that readers either love or hate. I do not inspire insipid reviews! <LOL> On one hand, awards and five-star reviews. On the other hand, the one-starred Goodreads reviewers who wish I'd take up knitting. (Same book, BTW. Strong voice = strong gut reaction.)

Now I've started writing contemporary paranormal romance - originally sold to Noble, but well, we all know what happened to them. *sigh* So "Marek's New World" went over to Tirgearr Publishing. There another editor loves my voice - enough to offer a contract. Now Marek couldn't be farther away from the Guardians, but my critique partners all agree that Marek still sounds like ME - in the rhythms, the cadence, the sentence structures.

And yes, "Marek's New World" will be coming out from Tirgearr Publishing sometime in the spring of 2014!

I've grown comfortable with/accepted my own writing voice - it flows naturally and makes my writing sing and dance and breathe. Even though there are people out there who don't like the song and will change the "channel" to someone more their style. I am so looking forward to winning hearts and pissing people off for years to come! :)


Renee Wildes said...

Morning everyone!

What's everyone got planned today?

I'm taking my Chow Abby to the vet at 10 for routine annual and then have to take my car in for them to try and diagnose a sporadic overheating problem. I hate cars!

Tina Donahue said...

Voice, deep POV, emotional build - it's all important in any story - to draw the reader in. Great post, Renee!

Kemberlee said...

We're thrilled to have you over at Tirgearr Publishing, Renee! You do have a great voice, so keep it up. And remember, reviews and opinions are like noses. Everyone has one. They're not always pretty, but they all serve a purpose. The stuffy ones help us appreciate the free breathing days much more ;-)

Have fun at the vet. And check for a leak in the heating system in your car ;-)

Mary Hughes said...

Voice resonates with the reader. I like that! (Also love "[I] take my holidays in sequence"--definitely!! :)

Elizabeth Delisi said...

Voice is so important to a story's success, yet so difficult to understand and develop. Looking forward to getting to know YOUR voice!

jean hart stewart said...

Voice, plot, tension, romance. A good book has them all. I've always marveled at how many voices are so distanct.

Renee Wildes said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by!

The crummy car needs a new head gasket...did I mention I HATE cars???

Fiona McGier said...

One of my closest friends who used to be a roommate right out of college, says that when she reads my books she feels like I'm sitting there with her, telling her the story. She can "hear" my voice in her ear. I like that idea.

I also like when readers tell me they laughed, and even better, cried along with one of my characters. That means they've come to life, for an instant, for that person. That's a huge compliment.

Great observations on something many of us don't give much thought to, but should.