Monday, December 3, 2012

MY VOICE—SQUEAKY OR SWEET?



By Darlene Franklin

My mind is blank today, blank as an artist’s canvas with only cloudy grays for a palette. Maybe that’s what happens when laryngitis turns my voice into a squeaky toy. At least my writing voice is doing okay, as I close in on the final quarter of my book, Hidden Dreams.


I have a hard time describing my writer’s voice. The question “To whom would you compare yourself?” still stumps me. Gulp. With twenty books in print, have I come far enough for people to start comparing themselves to me? Overall, people describe my writing as sweet, and I’m not sure if I like that. When people say too much frosting makes a cake too sweet, I laugh. I love the corner pieces with frosting on two sides as well as big flowers on top. The more sugar, the better as far I’m concerned.

There are books like that, with so much sweetness that the layers of plot disappear. I certainly don’t want to write like that.Various dictionaries define “sweet people” as thoughtful, winning, charming, having a gentle good humor. That’s not so bad. I can’t write humor, but I do write with good humor. If my characters are winning and charming without being perfect, maybe that attracts readers.

Ok, so I’m sweet. In the process of writing Hidden DreamsI learned a few other things about my voice. I tend to emphasize internal conflict over external. Hidden Dreams includes a heroine in danger and a grand chase scene—all in the last quarter of the book.

People often speak of my eye for detail. I’ve developed a theory about that. I don’t go looking for details, but I do research specific questions. In Hidden DreamsI searched for children’s books published or popular in the 1920s. I discovered Winnie-the Pooh. I chased the rabbit trail further. Where did the word “pooh” come from? Further research led to Shakespeare’s Hamlet and the Lord High Everything Else from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. All of those facts added depth to my heroine’s character and worked into a fun scene that is full of lovely detail.

I’m also beginning to wonder if I will become known as more of a New England writer than a Western author. Hidden Dreams is my fifth book set in Vermont, with two more coming in the series. I may write a final three contemporary books with the same setting; Vermont has become the subject of my magnum opus.
  

Although I was born in New England. I’ve lived most of my adult life in the southwest. I’m a westerner by choice, but a New Englander by tradition.

A writer’s voice is defined as “the, the quality that makes his or her writing unique, and which conveys the author’s attitude, personality, and character.” It’s what keeps readers coming back for more. Write long enough, and read enough, and you’ll learn to recognize the sound of your own voice.
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Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin has published twenty titles including her two latest releases, A Bride’s Rogue in Roma, Texas, and Merry Christmas, With Love, in Postmark:Christmas. She has also written two books in the Texas Trails series with RiverNorth Fiction, Lone Star Trail and A Ranger’sTrail. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers
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