Thursday, 29 September 2011

Your voice - stick to it or branch out?

My writing group met last night, and one of the topics that came up was about voice and style, and whether you should follow the market or just do your own thing. It's an interesting question and one that continues to remain unanswered in my own head.

I have completed two books so far, both of which have been written in a light-hearted, funny, chick-lit style. So far, they remain unpublished. But, I've also written a lot of short stories, some of which have been closer to the literary end of things (I'd say the literary/commercial divide, rather than pure literary). Quite a few of these have been published. So what's my voice?

In my experience, it depends on my mood and what I'm writing. I find the light-hearted stuff easier to write. But, according to the current publishing industry, chick-lit is just not being bought at the moment. One of my writing group last night was saying that rising food costs have led to the Tesco book purchase being the first thing to be dumped from the weekly shop, which has had an impact on everyone. So, I'm currently trying to write something else.

I feel instinctively if I can find the right voice for this book, it will start flowing, but I'm currently still struggling. Is this because I'm trying to write in a voice that's not my own, or is it just because I'm still learning how to be a writer? I feel and hope that it's the latter.

And perhaps, if I find a new voice for myself, I might meet with greater success. After all, anything that's worth having rarely comes easily.

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