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Tuesday, December 6, 2011
5:35 PM | Posted by Marnee Bailey | | Edit Post
It’s no secret I’m revising. I sent off my Golden Heart entry and when “whew.” Like that was the end of it. Um, yeah. That’s just the first fifty pages.
So, I’m revising. More. What feels like endlessly.
Granted, it’s the holidays. I’m ho-ho-hoing all about, preparing and hiding things in exhaustive, I-have-small-children-who-are-too-smart fashion. Therefore, I’m not doing as much revising as I’d like.
To break things up (or add to the chaos), I’m enrolled (read: silently lurking) in Louise Edwards’ RWA University class on the myRWA forum. (If you belong to RWA, get thee to sign up for myRWA. Lots of good stuff on their new forum set-up and more to come, I hear.)
Anyway, Louise Edwards is a lovely lady who writes contemporary romance about hunky chefs. Yum.
But before that, she was an editor at Berkley. She’s talking about what she learned about writing from being an editor.
Her first lesson was about how we must be true to our voice. She suggested writing in multiple genres to try to find your voice. She said that editors and agents are first and foremost readers. They might not always be able to define what’s wrong with a work but they can feel it when they read it, that something’s missing or rings false.
In fact, I’ve heard this twice since I’ve started writing. My second manuscript, the only one I shopped as my first one is embarrassing to me, garnered a few full requests. I didn’t get much feedback on one, but the other two said the same thing: I write well but the story didn’t pop. Contact me again when you have something new.
I had no idea what that meant. Hal and I discussed and I think we ended up thinking it was something to do with the characters or plot holes.
But now, I think it has something to do with voice and truth.
When I read, I can tell if a story has that “thing.” I can tell if the writer is pulling punches, shying away from emotion or going too far for drama’s sake. I can tell if it’s authentic or not. I don’t know if I’ve ever revised with that in mind before. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ve ever thought about it before. I’ve never revised as a reader before.
We all hear the clichés. Write what you love. Be true to your story.
I’ll add, "Revise like a Reader" to my stash.
How about you? What advice can you give about being true to your voice? Have you tried writing in different genres to find your voice? Any ideas about making a story “pop?”
Labels: Writing for Rum