Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Finding Your Author Voice


By Rachel Hauck

The writing community talks a lot about "voice."

The "sound" your writing makes when words and ideas are strung together.

Voice is unique to each author.

It is the single thing that makes one author stand out from another.

Four romance authors could write the Valentine's Day scene of a hero bringing a rose to his beloved and each story would be dramatically different.

But equally enjoyable.

Voice is how "you" say things.

Readers might say, "I love her voice."

A writer might say, "Oh, my editor is killing my voice."

And sometimes "voice" needs a bit of adjustment. Authors can get overly sensitive about their "voice."

But like a singing voice can be trained, so can an author's voice. In fact, a good editor can help you find your voice.

Ami McConnell at Thomas Nelson saw and "heard" something in my voice and challenged me to write deeper and with more intention.

I'm grateful!

However, that voice is NOT the one I want to talk about today. I want to talk about "voice" as it relates to what you write.

Often new authors genre hop, trying to figure out what they want to write or with what publisher. Perhaps they see a trend and migrate to "what's' hot now."

Established authors might get bored with what they've been writing and try something new. It's a risk -- remember John Grisham in Painted House -- but more easily done than a new author.

It's hard for an editor to see an author year after year at a conference and never know what kind of story the person is going to bring.

I love thrillers. I love a bit of sci fi fantasy. My husband comes up with some GREAT story ideas.

But they are not my voice. At least not for now.

Often people suggest I write a certain kind of book. "Write military." Or, "write about trafficking."

While I love the military and adamantly oppose human trafficking of any kind, those stories fall outside of what I think God is calling me to write.

I'm not saying "never" but right now, my writing voice is about love. Not just human love but the love of God for us.

I'm finding strength in writing with a supernatural element. Family Fiction said:

"Rachel’s portrayal of the supernatural presence and intercession of the Holy Spirit... is artfully executed and a powerful testimony. Often modern supernatural encounters with the Holy Spirit read as instances of mysticism and imagination, but Rachel Hauck illustrates Reggie’s spiritual awakening with a purity that leaves little doubt to its credibility."

The supernatural fits my voice. It's something I can do pretty well.

So combining my love stories with an element of the supernatural is becoming more and more my voice.

Down the line, I may find I can add a justice element to my love-supernatual stories. 

This is my voice. It's what I like to write. It's what I write well.

So, what's your voice? What do you do well? What seems to pop off the page?

Sol Stein said, “Write something only you can say.” 

That's voice!

My challenge to you is find out what YOU can write. What God is calling you to write? Stick with it. 

Don't change your mind based on what someone says or what's trending. 

If you don't know "your voice," do some testing. What do you read? What movies do you automatically gravitate toward? What do readers love the most about your work? What do you love most about your work?

I realized I could write supernatural elements early on, with my first chick lit, Georgia On Her Mind. I expected pushback from my editor. But low and behold, she loved it.

I'm sure you have a similar element in your writing.

Give yourself some times, too. It actually takes awhile to find your "voice."

So keep writing. Keep seeking. Find your voice.

***

Rachel lives in sunny central Florida.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in uncomfortable chair to write full time eight years ago.

She’s the author of the EPCA and CBA best sellers, and RITA nominated books. She also co-authored the critically acclaimed Songbird Novels with platinum selling country music artist Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.

Rachel serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, a conference speaker and worship leader.

Rachel writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

Here latest novel, Princess Ever After and novella A March Bride, released in February 2014.


Visit her web site: www.rachelhauck.com.



4 comments:

Ane Mulligan said...

Boy can I relate. My hubs keeps thinking of these great story ideas he thinks I should write. But they're not my voice. They're not particularly the type of story I'd read. But they're what he would read. If he read. He plays chess, he's a wonderful artist, and he's a budding musician. He's not a reader. So scratch my head and wonder why the suggestions? LOL

Rachel Hauck said...

Ane, you're finding your voice! You've worked really hard at the craft. Proud of you!

Rachel

Sondra Kraak said...

I needed this today. Not only the encouragement about voice, but about the supernatural. I wouldn't have labeled it as such, but I see this in my writing, and I'm worried about pushback as well. I confess I haven't read any of your books because I'm newer to contemporary fiction, but that will change. I can't wait to acquaint myself with your voice, Thanks, Rachel.

consumedbyhimblog said...

Thank you Rachel! I've discovered lately what I'm most passionate about writing: novels and blog posts that peel back our subconscious beliefs and reveal God's truth. I'm especially excited about my WIP. I'm using it to reach out to a group of souls that I think are the toughest to crack - churchgoers. It's so easy to sit in the pews and be happy with how good you are at rule keeping, and miss the entire point of being there. I'm praying my work can help alert people to their own beliefs and thoughts and nudge them a little closer to God.