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Finding My Voice

As some of you know, I spent a lot of this year searching for an agent. I have received a lot of good feedback from my search, including a fistful of rejections—a handful of them personal and very nice. All of the personal ones have meant a lot to me. I know how busy these agents are.

In the feedback I have received, something that has come up more than once is that my "author's voice" isn't that suited to fantasy. So far, everyone has liked the fantasy novel I've turned in but really, the thought my author's voice was much stronger with the other writing I've done—non-fiction, horror, modern gothic/paranormal and science fiction.

In a way, this surprised me. I like fantasy. I read it a lot. But, when I really look at my favorite books and favorite authors… most of them are horror, modern gothic/paranormal and science fiction. This is something I've never really noticed. Or, I knew it but I didn't really realize it. It's cool that these agents were able to pick that out from what I sent them while I could not.

It is also cool because now I have something to narrow my focus down to work on. Instead of wondering which project I'm going to work on next, I can cut all of my fantasy stuff out of the picture and focus on the sci-fi and horror stuff. To tell you the truth, this is a relief. I've flailed around for some time working on this project and that when, now, I have some direction based on where my strengths lie.

I will be revisiting my sci-fi space opera story and rewriting it from scratch, using the 60,000 word novel as an outline—adding another subplot to the novel that I wanted to but didn't the first go around. Once it is done, I have a short list of agents that I will try again with.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
ivan23
Nov. 19th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
That's pretty cool. Good to know you're reaching out to people well-suited to assisting you!
kmarkhoover
Nov. 19th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
Hm. I guess they know what they're talking about. But I would write what you want to write, Jennifer, not what someone thinks you have a "voice" for.

And who is to say your fantasy voice isn't the next best thing in that genre?

No. I don't get this. You should always write the story inside you. I understand you prefer horror and SF, etc, so it comes as no surprise you like writing those genres. But if you have a fantasy story to tell, then write that, too. At least, that's how it seems to me.

I just don't like people coming along and saying "This is right for you, and this isn't." Writing is difficult enough without being hemmed in, it seems.
xjenavivex
Nov. 24th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
This is the camp I mostly fall into. There is nothing wrong with focusing on your strengths. I just would hesistate to limit what you write to the point it cuts out some of the stories you might tell now or in the future.
a_r_williams
Nov. 20th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
"I just don't like people coming along and saying "This is right for you, and this isn't." Writing is difficult enough without being hemmed in, it seems."

::nods::

I agree with Mark, but I also know how it feels when I get advice that feels completely right.

I think it's cool that more than one person noticed you have a stronger voice in the other genres. That's good information to know whether you want to continue with fantasy or just focus on other writing.

Good Luck!
rippatton
Nov. 20th, 2009 03:48 am (UTC)
Jennifer,
Sounds to me though, like the agents are only "putting to words" what you already knew deep down about your own voice and writing preferences.

In the interactions I've been having with an agent, I've realized that "my voice" tends to be young. I am most comfortable writing children's or YA fantasy, rather than adult stuff, and that came as somewhat of a surprise. When I do write adult fiction, it tends to be sensual, or very raw emotionally.

I think it has something to do with writing from a part of myself I think of as "younger self" and I like the truthfullness, innocence and humor I can bring to YA.

Anyway, the agent hasn't commented on this. She found me through a piece of adult literary fiction, and all I've been giving her is YA, and children's. When I realized that, it was an aha moment for me.
(Deleted comment)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )