Tuesday, January 29

Finding Voice ~ @AuthorKristina Knight


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 maybe it partly is. We all have themes that we navigate to. I love friends-to-lovers and reunion tropes, and if I can throw in a loving/finding yourself theme that makes it all the better. That's why I've come to believe this quote is also about voice.

We all have unique experiences in roughly the same place. All of the WordWranglers are over the 35 mark in age, so we have some of the same references, but we aren't in the same country anymore (shout-out to our Canadian, Jana!) or region (hey, Margie, how's life in the PNW lately?). 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 (but never the Chiefs. Never.), 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? 

8 comments:

  1. First of all, Tom Selleck in the 80s. Yes, please.

    Secondly, I hadn't thought of voice quite like that before. About what I as a writer bring to the table and the things that are important to me. I guess my stories bring trust to the table. For some reason, most of my novels/novellas have some aspect of learning to trust - trusting a lover, trusting family, trusting themselves. I'll have to do more pondering on this subject, but it's an interesting question. I really like the way you think, Kristi!

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    1. Thanks, Jana. And Magnum - Yum! I mean, Nu-Magnum is okay...but he's just not Tom. :D

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  2. Kevin Costner for me.=I saw Silverado and made Mike wait for the credits so I could see who played Jake. LOL Feels like March in Spring here. Sorry to brag.

    And I love your insight into voice. Like Jana, I had never considered voice in quite that way before.

    I think for me, especially in my YA fiction, I tend to write about an outsider finding their place in their community. Because that's how I felt growing up and sometimes, I still do.

    For my adult fiction, I think my characters tend to have to prove themselves for some reason. Hmmmm...

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    1. After this latest stretch of -29, I think I wanna come live with you, Margie! And Kevin - gah, did I love him in that movie!!!

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  3. Sam, Sam, always Sam Elliot. I love this pondering, because voice is why I have autobuys. Not story or theme or even people—it’s the voice I always want to “hear.”

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    1. me, too. Certain author voices are just irresistible to me. And some that are irresistible to others...aren't. Isn't that weird?

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    2. The variety is what I like about romance fiction. One author might not work for me, but she's perfect for you.

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