Finding my voice

I recently read a wonderful book to my nearly-five-year-old twins, called Ish. Now, I know it’s probably not a “done” thing to talk children’s books on an erotic romance blog, and I certainly don’t want to google bomb this poor author, (gawd, can you imagine?) but the book is wonderful and my children and I had a long talk afterwards about what that book meant, and it got me thinking about my own writing, which is very romance-ish. 😉

I’m a relatively new author–I began writing in early 2010, and my very first book was published July 2012. When I started writing, I had this very firm idea of what a romance book should be, and I kind of knew my words weren’t it. It was like looking at a photograph of a beautiful beach and instead of seeing the colorful water, I was feeling the scratch of sand and the sting of a sunburn. It wasn’t what I thought I wanted to write. I wanted to write about the beautiful beach, not about the fallout from a day spent there. I felt like I needed to wash the grit out of my writing, make it nicer, more accessible, sweeter.

But the fact of the matter is, when I write, I’m amped up on the muse (even if I had to drag her to the desk with me by her hair) and I can’t not feel all the crazy sensation and the breathless energy writing gives me…and that comes out in my writing as a sort of manic observation of the world around me, and it’s what I’ve come to describe as “grit.” 

So I’ve come to accept the grit as what it is, an integral part of my authorial voice. Now, my voice changes the more I write. The books being published now are my voice a year or more ago. The books I’m writing now won’t likely be seen for months to years. When I encounter a particularly gritty moment, one which I feel I just have to write, I embrace it, because I know it’s part of the package. For every happy-ever-after walk on the beach, I have to get a little sand in my shoes.

I’d love to hear your stories of discovering and embracing the ish in your life. Are you an author who has come to terms with your own authorial voice? Maybe you’re an artist finding your style? Please share in the comments!

xoxo,
V

6 thoughts on “Finding my voice

  1. Hi Vanessa! It took me a while to find my voice. I started with lovely Regency romances that were more sweet than sexy and something felt off. It was only when I wrote my first love scene that things began to click for me. I realized I liked writing those scenes! Finding a voice is not always a quick process, but once one does, it really flows from there.

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    • So true–and I’m still finding mine. In the past year I’ve gone from writing mostly M/F and some F/F to writing half M/F half M/M. For me, part of the fun of writing romance is exploring the gigantic spectrum of human sexuality wherever my characters may find their comfort zone. 🙂

      I did try writing a regency once… but found I’m not cut out for the extensive historical research! (I admit where my struggles lie!!!)

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  2. Neat post, Vanessa! It took me a good year to wash off the more literary voice my college degree glommed on me. And then I realized my voice was old and over educated (my family is full of teachers) then I managed to blechify (made-up word) my voice and a few years ago came back into my voice, so it’s been quite a journey!

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    • It does take time, doesn’t it Karin? I too come from a family of teachers, and I did a lot of business/proposal writing before I became an author, and it’s funny to me how sometimes those “voices” try to creep in!

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  3. Way back in the mid-90s, I was on Kiss of Death Chapter as a wanna-be author. Another wanna-be author (and who is now an author and one of my best author friends) once said on the KOD listserve that if Moni wrote the way she talked(meaning my e-mail conversations on the list) that she’d (my friend) read every damn book I wrote.

    Of course, I am paraphrasing, but you get the gist.

    My voice is me. It is how I think, talk, react, and deal with life. What you read on the page of my books is a concentration of my life experience and my philosophy and the way I express those. Every character has a bit of me in them, so their voice is mine and vice-versa. Yes,it is fiction, but it is fiction that comes from my life view — and I think when it all boils down that is what an author’s voice is. And as we mature, our life view and experiences grow and out voice grows with us.

    Very thoughtful post, V. I don’t think I have ever thought of how I found my voice — because I didn’t find it — it just was and I let it come to the surface in my fiction.

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  4. So true Moni! The voice is me. It changes a bit as I change, but it is distilled through my own experience and my own philosophy and opinion. Makes me think of Walt Whitman:

    “You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, not look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books. You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, you shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.”

    And now that I’ve invoked Uncle Walt… 😀

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