This is the seventh post in the Confessions of a New Author series. This series chronicles my adventures of becoming a self-published author, from the very moment I woke up and decided to be an author to when I finally published my debut novel and beyond.
Every novel is different. Not only because the plot and the characters are different, but because every writer is as well. If you gather a handful of authors in one room and ask them to write about the sunset, you will end up with a handful of different descriptions. This is more commonly known as a “writer’s voice.”
As a new author, I didn’t know what the heck that meant. I guess I never really thought about it and I didn’t know exactly how to find my voice as a writer. Didn’t I already have one? Technically, isn’t that just what my words are? I shrugged it off as something that was too philosophical for me and began to write Finding Paradise.
And I ended up hating it.
The first few chapters of Finding Paradise were crap-tastic. I’m not going to lie. It was boring, flat, and uninteresting. I felt like it read more like Go, Dog, Go rather than a New Adult novel. I couldn’t understand why either. I had my characters somewhat figured out, I had my scenes developed, so why did I hate my writing?
Simple: I didn’t have my writer’s voice yet.
There is no easy way to find your writing style. It’s not like creating an outline, where everything is so technical. It’s just something that you find naturally as you write. That doesn’t sound really good advice or any advice at all, does it? So why even include this post in the Confessions of a New Author series if I’m not going to direct you how to find your writer’s voice? Just because I can’t tell you how to find it doesn’t mean it’s not important to the writing process.
If you find yourself a few chapters into your first novel and hating it, chances are you are going to question why you hate it. If you don’t understand where you are going wrong, you are more likely to give up. DON’T! You just haven’t found your voice yet.
Some writers believe in concrete descriptions. Some writers believe in emotional descriptions. Some writers believe in dialogue over descriptions and some writers believe in more internal dialogue. So who’s wrong? None of them. They each have their own way of bringing their story to life – each has their own writer’s voice. Is it starting to make sense now?
I discovered that my voice consisted of emotional descriptions and internal dialogue with a touch of concrete descriptions. My story warranted more emotions and reflection that I wasn’t getting when I first wrote Finding Paradise with concrete descriptions. There was no emotion tying the reader to my character. But my voice won’t work for all novels. Could you imagine trying to give emotional descriptions to a non-fiction novel or children’s book? Probably not so much.
I cannot stress enough that every writer is different and every writer has their own voice. There is no road map, no test, no process to find yours other than trial and error. My best piece of advice is to do some writing prompts before you start writing your novel, especially if this is your first real attempt at a long creative writing piece. I have a few writing prompts pinned on my Pinterest board HERE. A few of those should start to reveal your voice as a writer, as well as any weaknesses you have as a writer. If you want to dive right into your novel instead, by all means, go for it. But if you start to dislike your manuscript, perhaps revisit the idea of figuring out your voice as a writer.
Thank you for reading, and keep writing your heart out.