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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Ever Elusive Voice


Lindi Peterson is an author of contemporary Christian romance novels focusing on the amazing love of Jesus Christ and how His love influences our ability to love one another. She lives north of Atlanta, Georgia, with her hubby. They are empty nesters as far as children go, but they do support, feed, and care for a dog, 2 cats and 2 birds (who are at often times way louder than the kids used to be). She'd wanted to be a writer ever since she can remember. So, about 12 years ago, she started writing novels. Writing for publication is an amazing, crazy journey, but she wouldn't trade it in at all!

The Ever Elusive Voice

Are you a new writer? If not, do you remember being a new writer? Do you remember hearing words that you knew what they meant, but the way people talked about these words indicated there was more to the picture than you knew about.

I remember the words that eventually left me befuddled.

Fresh.

Sparkle.

Voice.

Looking at those words we all know what they mean. But what they mean in the writing world can wreck a novelist and result in a lot of rewriting and some sleepless nights.

And maybe even some rejection letters.

“We’re looking for a story that’s fresh!”

“Your characters don’t sparkle.”

“The voice isn’t distinctive.”

Yeah---have you heard this before? If not in the form of a rejection, how about from a critique partner? Or what about in a workshop? Well, I have good news and bad news. Bad news-two of these words we aren’t talking about today. Really, there’s not enough blog space!

Seriously though, each of these words has an extremely important role in your novel, but, (good news) today we are going to focus on one.

Voice.

Because I think having a distinctive voice is one of the most important aspects of this business. When your voice shines, you can tell your story. You can impart to readers the way you ‘feel’ about the story—because to me, voice is about feeling.

Think of it this way. How do you converse? Pay attention to conversations around you. Do you hear people’s beats? Do you notice pauses? Awkward ones? They are all a part of real conversation.  Take notice of the way you talk. The emphasis you put on certain words.

I have a little exercise on voice finding. I do this a lot and I find it really helps me pull from all sorts of places inside where all those feelings are just fighting to come out and grab your reader. I do this especially if I have a scene that’s not quite coming together. I write it in first person. Then I write it in third person. It’s amazing the way each scene pulls out different aspects of what is going on. Then I mesh the two together. It’s kind of like bringing in the best of both worlds. And this is true for all the scenes in your novel. Dialogue and description.

Voice isn’t just about dialogue. No, it’s the way the novel flows. It’s the way the beats fall. It’s the composition of the way the novel is put together. It all really comes back to voice.

I find that rough drafts are the best expression of voice. Of course, there’s usually rewrites, but hopefully rewriting doesn’t pull the ‘you’ out of your novel. Because it’s that gut writing that comes from deep within that’s going to make your novel different from everyone else’s.

Drat—voice can be hard to explain. I hope I’ve shed a little light into the topic of the ever elusive voice. I’d be happy to answer/ask questions and discuss this topic.

A side note: An author whose voice I love is Alice J. Wisler. I love picking up an Alice J. Wisler novel. I know what I’m getting when I read Wisler. Amazing voice. Check her out if you haven’t and you’ll see what I tried to explain in this blog post. 

Left, is a photo of what I stare at as a write. I have 2 bulletin boards. This is a picture of one of them. I love starting at things that remind me of my current WIP. 

Oh, and there’s a picture of one of my cats, too. My hubby and I have 2 cats, 1 dog and 2 birds. Even though we are empty nesters, we have a loud house!

Thanks for having me here today!  Novel Rocket rocks!


Her Best Catch



Allison Doll's mother is rebelliously turning fifty, her two best friends have started dating and a gorgeous injured relief pitcher named Ashton Boyd has joined her Sunday school class, rocking her world into confusion, heartache and temptation, places she hasn't visited in a long time, much less all at once.

But with the help of family, old friends she really hasn't lost, a new friend she really can count on, and God, she begins to find out whether she'll always be a girl waiting for life to happen or a woman who's ready to commit to her best catch.

And that's not all! Be watching for Summer Song.  Here's a tease ... 



Pop-Princess Summer Sinclair doesn't know what to do now that she's cleaned-up and sober. She knows God's been nudging her, but since God is unfamiliar territory she feels scared and alone. Everything changes when she meets Levi Preston, a Christian musician who tries everything he can to show Summer what true love really is. But when Summer's life starts replaying Levi's past, his faith is tested. Will visions of their past prevent Summer and Levi from living the life God has for them? Or will true love triumph giving Summer and Levi their own Summer Song.




12 comments:

Bill Allen said...

Great post, Lindi. I once met a husband wife team who believed voice was so important they refused to edit their work. Whatever spilled out onto the page in the rough draft is what got submitted. Sounds crazy to me, but it seemed to work for them. For me, editing is where I get rid of all the junk that's keeping my voice from being noticed.

Lindi said...

Bill--Wow, while it does seem crazy to the brain part? I guess--I totally can see their perspective from the heart part. Because I do think that first writings are where the heart is laid out there.
And yes, I need an editor too! I call myself the rambling queen. :)
Thanks for stopping by!

Missy Tippens said...

Great post, Lindi! I have to say that your voice is definitely in your books! If someone reads one, she/he can feel like she/he knows you. :)

Jodi Janz said...

Thanks for the post Lindi. I find voice hard to grasp and every little bit helps. I cannot recognize my own yet - is that common? Do you usually need someone else to point it out for you or am I just not sure how to listen for it?
Jodi

JoAnn Durgin said...

Just dropping by to say hi, Lindi! Anxiously awaiting Summer Song, and love the title. Don't know if you saw my post here on Novel Rocket a couple of weeks ago, but I chose the very same topic of an author's voice. I think it's because voice is so important, and yet elusive and even mysterious for some writers. Wonderful post, and I enjoyed reading your thoughts, advice and comments. Blessings always!

Nicole said...

Her Best Catch: a divine cover!

Creston Mapes said...

Great job, Lindi!! Thanks for the insights.

PatriciaW said...

Hi Lindi! Popped into say hello. Summer Song sounds great.

Lindi said...

Missy---you know I had to write ALOT for that crazy voice to show up! :)

Lindi said...

Jodi--Personally for me I had to write a lot. I just kept plugging away until I found first person--then it just all seemed to make sense. What I would say is write how you feel comfortable. What flows naturally for you.

Lindi said...

JoAnn--Hi friend!! So good to see you. No, I didn't read your post, but I will go back and read it. :) Guess we are thinking along the same lines, huh?

Lindi said...

Nicole---Thanks--I do love the cover. Deb Dixon designed it. She's amazing.

Hi Creston---Lindi waving at you!!

Pat--hello!! Good to 'see' you here.