© Joanna Challis 2009 all rights reserved
That is one piece of advice I ignored for far too long.
What’s voice? Voice is our most precious writing weapon. No one else can have your unique voice. It’s what sets your writing apart from everybody else. It’s your version of the Chinese whisper and eventually, it’s your voice is what sells your story.
How do we harness our voice? It comes back to that other golden rule: write what you love. No matter what the market is doing, concentrate on the core essential of why you want to write. You write because you have a burning idea in your head that refuses to go away. You write because you love reading stories in that genre. You write because you have your own story to tell. Never lose that original focus. Doing so jeopardizes your natural voice and don’t be fooled. When we try to ‘conform’ we single-handedly kill our natural voice and that turns off agents and editors.
Maybe we forget agents and editors are ardent book lovers too. They want to find a great story. But more importantly, they want to find a great voice. A new voice on a tried subject. A new voice on a new series. A new voice willing to go beyond the boundaries of the popular and stick with their first love: whatever drives them to write.
So how do we write what we love? After going back to the roots, the answer should be staring at us from our computer screens. Maybe it’s that first attempted novel with all those hand-written notes. Or a character diary we charted and never finished. It could be anything but whatever it is, we feel a passion for it. We feel comfortable with the character, setting, and plot. It’s familiar to us, as familiar as our closest family member. It’s real and it motivates us to keep writing, to finish the story of our heart, that novel we always wanted to write.
Doing so requires courage. It might put us out of our “perceived writing-for-the-market” routine. We might fear writing what we love will push back publication for years. But it won’t if you believe in your work, you love your work, and you are aggressive in marketing it. You’ve honed your unique gift, “your voice,” and now are just waiting for it to find the right home or capture the attention of the right agent/editor.
About the author:
Joanna Challis lives and writes in a colonial house with wrap-around verandahs and an English garden in Queensland, Australia, surrounded by family, old paintings, and anything fleur-de-lys. She is the author of several romantic suspense novels; Murder on the Cliffs is her first series mystery.