Thursday, July 1

Finding My Voice

Before I started working on Bix, I was writing a dystopian YA novel about civilization's recovery after an ice age. I did a lot of research and world building. I had two time lines going, one with the Ice age heroine and hero that took place in 2017---and seriously after last year's snowmaggedon doesn't seem that far off course--and one in the year 2525 after a journal is found at a dig site.

I knew all about my characters and knew where everything was headed. I had two heroines, Ainsley, the journal keeper from 2017 and Carmen, the 2525 journal finder. And I couldn't find either of their voices.

Ainsley always came off as too young and naive. And Carmen came off too stilted--even I heard it. I thought maybe it was because I was writing it in third person, when I am so much more comfortable in first. But even when I tried it in first, something wasn't right. I tried several different openings and yet nothing seemed to work.

And then I discovered Bix and I found my voice. Male, witty, sarcastic, but with heart.

This week I revisted those pages of The Journal Keeper and I realized what my problem was. The male characters are more interesting to me than the girl's. Nate-the hero from 2017 has a great story of survival and Orson from 2525 is a literary a Second-class citizen in a society that controls the birthrate of its people.

My realization? I write a better hero than a heroine, especially teenaged. I think part of it is that I don't get a lot of the "girly" stuff. Makeup, jewelry, fashion, uhm no, not in this lifetime. I don't notice when someone changes their hair--unless it's so drastic you can't help but notice. I don't pay attention to what people wear or how the house is decorated (which is why my cp's have to prompt my descriptions).

I guess at heart I am a male teenager. Is this a bad thing? No, I think not. In fact, I think it could be quite the opposite. If you look at the YA section at your local bookstore, you'll notice that most of them are geared at girls--in fact, I'd say close to 85 percent. The middle grade section has plenty for boys--Percy Jackson, Alex Rider--in fact, a lot of the middle grade stuff is made for boys or the universal market. But once you go older, its all about the girls. I read an agent who said finding an author who writes that writing the YA male is really hard to do. So I could be onto something.

Now, back to Bix...


  1. I <3 (that's a heart) Bix... and I think you've got him down. But reading the dystopian from the male POVs could be really interesting!

    And I'm finding it really funny that my captcha below the comment box reads 'enfashun'.

  2. Thanks Kristi. I told my daughter yesterday and she said, "Yeah, those sound interesting. AFTER you finish Bix." LOL

  3. Something to consider -- I like writing male voices. I had one man tell me they were too tender, but he isn't reading romance. Hey, everybody cries. Good Job. Deni

  4. Deni,
    thanks for posting--looks like it came through after all. Men don't think its true love unless someone dies ;) see Nicholas Sparks, James Patterson.

  5. It sure is weird where we find out voices, but also one of the joys of being writers. Sometimes we have to really dig deep to find those joys, too!

  6. I loved the idea of the Journal Keeper. You definitely need to go back, and just write it as a boy. After all, you can turn it into a blog!