“Ugh, no,” you say while pulling out your hair. “NOT another blog discussing writer’s voice. Blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard it all before. I’m moving on to Creepy Query Girl’s blog post on getting naked in France.”
But wait, don’t go! Not yet. I’m not going to discuss what voice is or even make an attempt to define it, since there are several hundred blogs out there that try. No. I’m not going to discuss what it is or what it should be. I mean, that’s like asking how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop—nobody truly knows.
But we’re all supposed to have one. Kind of a catch twenty-two, don’t you think?
No, what I want to discuss today is more along the lines: so you think you have a great voice—unique, different, super cool—only to find out that editors “just aren’t that in to you.” What do you do and where do you go from there?
Those are the types of questions that have been floating around in my head for the past couple of days since receiving a rejection from an editor saying, “I hate Angela Scott’s voice.” (Okay, it didn’t quite say that exactly, but the gist was pretty much the same).
I’ve worked hard to create a pretty awesome thick-skinned coat—it’s multi-layered and deflects criticism so my heart and soul will not be crushed—yet, somehow, this rejection found a weak link in my armor. It’s now an irritant, like when you get your haircut and the trimmings fall down the back of your shirt, inside your collar. Itchy and annoying.
Tell me my story stinks. Tell me my characters are unbelievable. Tell me my anything other than my voice reminds you of the time you accidentally drank a glass of water while on vacation in a third-world country (No, they didn’t say that, but it felt that way).
My voice is my voice. It’s me.
It’s like telling me you hate my face. It’s my face! Right there on the front portion of my head. Unless I do major plastic surgery, I will always have this face. I can temporarily put some makeup on it—a slew of rainbow colors on my lids, lips and cheeks. I can even add sparkly glitter to my eyes or put on a red-balled clown nose, but it’s still going to be my face. Just weirder looking.
Darn me and my stupid face!
My voice is ALL over my work in progress as well. Every single page—80,000 words of my voice. Shoot!
Logically, I know it’s all a matter of preference and subjectivity. I get that. I do. But I think voice is a very personal thing, a character trait, a part of your personality. It’s me.
Can voice be changed? Is it even possible? Could Stephen King, JK Rowling, or JRR Tolkien change their voices? I don’t know. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m in no way comparing myself to this fine league of writers. I would never do that. All I’m asking is if it’s possible to change?
And more importantly, should I?
(Oh, and go check out my previous blog post below for a chance to get your hand on some free books I'm giving away).