Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Journey To Finding Your True Voice

Hello. My name is Amy McCorkle and I'm a proud Muse author. And while I talked about maximizing your online presence last time today I'm going going to be talking about something different. The Journey to Finding Your Own Voice.

Everyone is brought up to believe the writing the Great American Novel is their only avenue. It is almost as legendary as the myth that all writers live in New York. Which makes finding your niche as a writer more difficult than sometimes people are willing to admit.

The Great American Novel is something grand indeed. But it is not the ONLY thing. There are screenplays, teleplays, stage plays and then there are the short form versions of these art forms. The problem is, how do you figure out if you are more gifted in one area than the other?

Well, the first thing you must do is ask yourself is this, do you think in quick bursts of manic energy, if so the short form might be for you. But everyone's journey is their own let me describe mine.

I've been writing since I was five years old. I've won awards, been paid, and gotten contracts. Sounds glamorous, huh? Wrong. A journey has fits and starts, highs and lows, and sometimes a lot of personal change accompanies that success that you don't count on so you best be studying your craft.

The first thing I tried my hand at professionally was freelance journalism. It was a hideous experience. But what I learned was that is just because something pays well that doesn't mean you were meant to do it.

I tried poetry. It was a better fit. But I wrote dark stuff. Not the kind of stuff the people I was submitting to were looking for.

So I started on the great American novel. I knew nothing of query letters, outlines, synopses, or the like. I hadn't been to college of a writers conference because I had no money to speak of to tell me what those things were and the internet wasn't yet what it is today. And I hadn't heard of Lea Schizas.

Then magic I wrote Another Way To Die and was pointed towards DigiCon by an author friend and Muse ultimately accepted it. They also accepted two other stories No Ordinary Love and Ain't No Other Man. But in Another Way To Die I was struggling in the long form follow ups. My editor commented I seemed more comfortable in the short form than I was the long form. And suddenly everything shifted and made sense.

So my journey took me thirty-one years. So here is what helped me along in my journey:

1) Get your education. Whether it's traditional or otherwise this of utmost importance.

2) Do your market research. (After you have a finished product)

3) Practice your craft, try different sizes on.

4) Find yourself a mentor and a first reader. You'll know who they are when you get them.

Thank you for your time. Please leave comments and questions. I will be checking in throughout the day.


Jenna Storm said...

Nice post Amy. It does take some searching to find your niche and like everything else in takes work and determination to achieve success (measurable in several ways). I started off with a children's chapter book and then moved onto the books I love to read, at that time it was Romantic suspense. Now, I'm writing paranormal romantic suspense (I just have to add that suspense part in). It feels great when you find your 'place' and then again when you move around and discover a new 'place'. Happy writing...

Unknown said...

I love the short form but still yearn to conquer the long form. I'm a marathoner in the grand scheme of things.

Christopher Hoare said...

One has to balance 'finding your own voice' with the supposed sage advice to read everything you can in your genre---which can only mean learning to follow the pack.
The first applies if you write 'for art's sake'(whatever that means) and the second if you expect to find an agent and a traditional publisher---who only want sure things.
I recommend writing your own voice for the pure, simple cussedness of it.

Beverly said...

Thanks, Amy, for the interesting post. After years of non-fiction and technical writing, I'm trekking into the forest of fiction writing and discovering "the true voice" difficult to find in there. As Christopher mentioned in his post, we hear the supposed sage advice to read everything in your genre to write "sure things." Yet it may not be one's true voice. Other advice, "write what you love" may lead to something creative and far away from a sure thing. The love of writing leads me to struggle with these issues and keep working at it to find the balance.

Unknown said...

If you write for the joy and passion of it eventually, success will eventually find you. Maybe not the definition one everyone assumes it is but success will find you.

Charlie said...

Great words of advice, Amy. I agree. You have to write what you are comfortable with. When you try to force yourself to write something you don't like, most times it won't work. And it makes me glad to know I'm not abnormal!
C.K. Volnek

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Amy, absolutely wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

Great advice Amy. Practice, practice, practice, huh? Mentor is also huge. Thanks for sharing your journey and providing these great pointers.

Wendy said...

Hi Amy,
Thanks for sharing your journey and the tips you discovered along the way.

I have always believed one should read as much of their preferred genre to become a better writer in their chosen field.

The problem is, I don't like reading my prefered genre, I'd rather read what I write and spend time in the land I create.

There is no way I could write as well as the ones I love to relax with, in a different genre, and I wouldn't want to. That's their gig.

Is that too weird? I wonder if there are others like me.