Wednesday, March 23

#WriterWednesday: What do you have to offer?

We talk a lot about writing here, as we should since this is a writer-blog. This week Nan's talking about being faster and Liz is a little worried about getting a sentence absolutely 'write'. We've talked process and character building. We haven't talked a lot (lately, anyway) about voice. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about voice.

Barbara Kingsolver once said, "Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer."

For a very long time, I thought that quote was about theme...and it probably partly is. We have have themes that we navigate to. I love a friends-to-lovers trope, and if I can throw in the Loving/Finding Yourself theme that makes it all the better. What I've been thinking, though, is that this quote isn't so much about theme or trope as it is our personal writer's voice.

We all have unique experiences in roughly the same place. Liz and Nan are a little older, but we're all over the 35 mark in age, so we have some of the same references. Ask us who the hottest 1980s actor was, and we'll all have a different name (I call Tom Selleck because...well, short-cargo-shorts). Ask which is the best spring flower (I call Nemesia because of the color and resemblance to Orchids). Ask us why we are writers, you'll get another unique answer.

All of that uniqueness creates a voice, a frame of reference that we bring to every book, be that a friends-to-lovers romance or a mistaken heir romance or a were-being meets Darth Vader space comedy. Voice includes our syntax, our slang, punctuation and even diction.

A writer's voice also covers the things we care about. I'm a soapbox-standing proponent of adoption and advocate for kids in foster care because of our experiences adopting bebe. I'm a die-hard Kansas City Royals fan, lover of Cadbury Caramel eggs who also has a slight addiction to tuna-on-wheat, peanut-butter-on-white and mustard-and-bologna sandwiches, and for a very long time I felt like I didn't fit in my own family. I was also a day-dreamer, I couldn't do math to save my life. I was afraid of the goats and cows in our fields, and although I love to ride, I could never remember how to cinch the freaking saddle correctly...mostly because when my family would demonstrate, I'd get lost thinking about my books again. So a big part of my voice, of the stories I tell, is finding home. Finding safety and security and coming to terms with who you are...and who you aren't. Once I figured out what my voice brought to the table, writing books became so much simpler...because I knew what I had to say.

Have you found your voice? What is it that your stories bring to the table? Oh! And feel free to add to the list of Best 80s Hottie, Best Spring Flower and Why Do You Write, too!

8 comments:

  1. I love this, Kristi, and finding my voice was one of the fun parts of writing. (Although the digging got a little painful from time to time!) Finding the story, however, is an ongoing problem.

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    1. I agree! Still amazed at the way I *think* I know what the story is, but then whoops! the story is actually over here!

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    2. Oh, I forgot--my 80s hottie is Sam the Man Elliot, the flower is the lilac, and why I write is...well, it's kind of like breathing, I guess; I have to.

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  2. Great Post! My voice is apparently a little snarky, as most of my characters tend to have some attitude. As for 80's stars, gee I can't remember that far back, but I do remember having a lot of Teen Beat issues with John Stamos in them! (That would be pre-Full House John Stamos!)

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    1. I don't remember John pre-full-house...I'm gonna have to go look him up!

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  3. I think my constant theme is finding yourself and your place in the world around you. Growing up and in school, I always felt like I didn't quite fit in and was always in search of the secret passcode.

    For my eighties crush, and the following decades, I'll have to say, Kevin Costner--always and forever. I saw him Silverado in 1985 and never looked back. LOL

    Favorite spring flower? Right now, it's my clematis because it's in full bloom and that always makes me feel successful--because it's still alive. I feel the same way about my children. I am a success because they live. LOL

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    1. Love that, Margie...and Kevin is definitely a good choice!!

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  4. Ack! I thought I commented here, but apparently, I'm hallucinating again. My 80s hottie is Jeff Bridges, unquestionably and my flower is violets--the ones that carpet the forest floor. Great post, Kristi!!

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