File this memo under – Never stop learning!
Sunday I attended a workshop given by authors Jane Porter (Flirting with Forty, She’s Gone Country), Megan Crane (Frenemies, Names My Sisters Call Me), and Liza Palmer (A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents, Conversations with a Fat Girl), hosted by my local chapter of RWA, the Los Angeles Romance Authors, in Studio City, CA. The speakers were not only enlightening, but thoroughly entertaining. It is always a joy to realize someone else knows exactly what it’s like to write a book. They get the process, and I know what they’re talking about…because I’ve done it. We get each other.
Um, let’s see, I’ve gone through that process seventeen times now? Yup, that’s my current total of completed manuscripts. To date, only twelve have sold.
So what is voice and how do we find it?
I’ve heard that a writer’s “voice” is their personality on the page. I’m currently reading a Susan Elizabeth Phillips book – Call Me Irresistible – and her personality/voice is so strong, I’m going to do a future blog about it when I’ve finished the book.
According to Jane Porter our stories are shaped by life, faith, and personality. (She may have said “fate” instead of faith but that’s what I heard.)
And Megan Crane aka Caitlen Crewes drove home the point that “voice” can’t be taught, it is your “you-ness” and if you can harness your voice you harness your power.
Liza Palmer, when she wasn’t cracking me up with her dry ADD wit, said in order to understand our writer’s voice we must understand ourselves. We must know what we’re trying to say with our writing.
We spent the morning brainstorming, writing and analyzing our style, and their handouts were very helpful.
You mean it isn’t just telling a little story with a lot of plot?
Jane, Megan, and Liza all repeated one important point. Everything, every type of story imaginable, has already been told. Our only shot at being unique in our writing is through our voice, or the way we tell that story using our world view and everything that has made us who we are.
When I’m asked to examine my stories and come up with my “kink,” to use Liza Palmer’s word, I realize my stories are most frequently about second chances. I LOVE second chances, yet we get so few of them in life. In my books, Do-Overs are mandatory. My characters tend to have always felt second best – they’ve been screwed over and deserve their chance to shine. The beauty of writing is I can do that for them, I can give them their second chance. I can write a story where they finally get it right, and I can’t tell you how rewarding that is.
I’ve done that very thing in One for the Road coming July 13 from The Wild Rose Press in e-book format as well as print (and will also be available on Amazon), and also in The Runaway Nurse Returns my debut Harlequin Special Edition book scheduled for 2012. If you’re a fan of second chances, I hope you’ll check both of those books out!
The week in review:
Movie: The Lincoln Lawyer – I liked it!
Book: Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – I’m loving it!
Music: Beethoven, but I’m determined to check out Adele this week.
Until next week, make it a great one – and that’s a memo.