Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Me: Allison Brennan's Speech

Allison Brennan made an amazing speech the other day. While I didn’t actually hear her present, I read the written version. If you haven’t seen it yet, go here.

Two things really stuck to me from that speech. Writers are not normal. I just love that. It’s true. Aren’t we always complaining how non-writers don’t get us? Well, that’s why. They’re normal, we’re not. Okay, they might not be normal either, but that’s beside the point. I won’t attempt to go into this as Allison does such a good job of it. You really have to read what she said.

The other piece that resonated with me was when she talked about finding your voice. A novel can be written well, but if the voice isn’t true to its owner, the story will feel forced and the reader won’t enjoy the journey.

How do we find our true voice? Allison found hers by writing, writing, and writing. She believes that’s why her fifth novel sold. She finally found her voice.

I totally get that because I just experienced the same thing. Well, minus the selling of a fifth book. As some of you know, I started writing YA, but switched to adult romantic suspense a few years ago. The first r/s I wrote was dark. I was about to edit it, when a better story idea came to mind. The plan was to plot out that idea and then go back to edit the first book. Instead, I liked the second story better, so I wrote it, even though it was a light r/s. Then, I joined RWA and a critique group only to discover my baby wasn’t worth publishing. I cut and shredded the poor infant until only ¼ of it was still there. Then, I started again and was 78% complete, when I hit a roadblock. Something wasn’t right. But I couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong. I struggled with this for a while before the light came on.

My voice.

This story wasn’t representing my voice, not entirely. Parts of my voice were present, but not enough was coming through, nor would it be able to show itself in a light romantic suspense. Unfortunately, because of who the killer was, there was no way for me to turn this novel into a dark r/s without doing some major house cleaning starting with the killer. Once I chopped a few characters and replaced the villain, boulders rolled off my shoulders, down my back, and headed to the gravel pit. I felt so light and enlightened that I jumped up and down, and did a few twirly-twirls.

I’VE FOUND MY VOICE!!! If only I could described it. I’d say it’s like a blend of dark and light r/s. The suspense part is dark, but the interaction between the hero and heroine is light with a little bit of wit thrown in. Make sense?

Have you found your voice?


  1. Go you! Voice is such an important thing, and it took me awhile to identify mine, too. I think that's good, though, because it gave me time to really try it on and make sure.

    Great tips, thanks for sharing this info, and the link to the speech.

  2. You found out you were darker, I found out I was lighter. :) Thanks again for the link, it was a great speech. Sorry I co-blogged on the same topic, lol.

  3. I've found my voice (well except for in my query) and I love it. It sounds vain, but lots of times I love reading what ever I just wrote - the way it sounds, it's so me.

  4. I'm glad you found your voice. I think this is a tricky thing made more difficult by there being no set pattern to it.

  5. Lynnette, I can hear the sheer excitement that only comes from finding your niche (voice). Good for you!

    I am working on it. I wouldn't say I am completely comfortable yet. I was certain I would never write romance, but now I feel a thread in my current project. We'll see where this leads.

  6. I had trouble with my first (and only, so far--but NaNo's coming!)novel because the POV just didn't put the story into my head. Once I switched to first person POV, it came easier and sounded better, too. My next WIP is TOTALLY my voice, and I can't wait to get started on it.

  7. I needed this post today, Lynnette! Thanks for sharing that sometimes it doesn't happen instantly but over time with writing, writing, and writing.

  8. I really had no idea what this meant. I took an online writing course and my tutor kept remarking - great voice! I think it's something that just naturally came out in my writing because I wrote about things I love (dogsledding mostly) So glad you've found your voice!

  9. This whole "voice" thing eludes me. Guess I should follow the link:D

  10. Don't worry. If you haven't found your voice yet, you will.

    Lynnette Labelle

  11. I was just at the NJ conference where Allison spoke. She talked about trying to switch up her genre a bit when Chick-lit was big. So she wrote a partial for a Murder-Chick-lit kind of story which she and her critique partners loved. But her editor shot her down and told her, "No Allison, you're not funny. Stick with what you do best." LOL!

    I think I found my voice, too.