By: Casey Crow
Time and again we hear, "Don’t write toward trends or try to mimic another author’s voice, but DO write what you love." Find your own voice So what is an author's voice? Wikipedia says it's "the literary term used to describe the individual writing style of an author, considered a combination of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, and dialogue." In English? It's the tone or the way a book "sounds" and the only way to do that is to write – and not just one story.
Y'all already know all that, but why must it take writers seemingly forever to figure out what their voice is? We may have to try different genres or various lengths to figure out our strengths. Firmly establishing a strong voice off the bat will build a loyal following. A while back, RWA University hosted Stephanie Bond. Her entire workshop focused on the importance of sticking with one genre/voice until you have that solid fan base. After you are established, venture off into other genres if you want, because by then, your voice is solid and your readership intact. You’re even good enough to change your voice based on what genre you write. Some authors actually create new identities so as not to confuse readers. Nora Roberts as J.D. Robb. Jayne Ann Krentz as Amanda Quick and now Jayne Castle. Ring any bells? Even the best know the importance of cementing the right name with their readers.
What's your voice? Did it take you a while to figure it out? Do you stick to the same genre or branch out? Did you automatically know how to describe it or did you need a little help?
I wish I could take credit for coming up with describing my voice description and thus, tagline, "Sexy, Sassy & Southern," but it was the brainchild of my mentor, the incredible, RITA nominated Cynthia Eden. My voice is sexy because my heroines know what they want and go after it, which yields passionate sex scenes. The sassy comes into play because these girls are fun and flirty and southern because they have the slow drawl of sweet molasses.