Friday, September 4, 2015

Excercise/ Tip to Finding Your Writing VOICE (in fiction)

Aaaah! Voice. We’ve all got those "voice" rejections, haven’t we? Even if some were form-y, but still--sometimes they HURT! There was this manuscript I went out on sub with a few years ago, and I got a few “voice” rejections. So just reading the word “voice” right then was enough to make me CRINGE. And sure, there was that pesky word: “subjectivity.”

Still, I tried. And I thought I got it. I went to Amazon to browse sample chapters of a lot of NYT bestselling books. And guess what? I didn’t love the voice of all of them. In fact, I just loved the voice of like 60% of those bestselling books. Okay, so “subjectivity” was a real thing! But still, right then, I hadn’t sold any book, and I thought my voice could still improve. But HOW THE HELL could I make it better?

I didn’t know. Honestly. Still, I kept writing, switched agents, revised, etc. And still, a big, fat nothing.

Then, on a whim, I applied to book packagers. Many of them. Alloy, Working Partners, Cake Literary, etc. And, even though I got a few rejections, I also got a few “We loved your sample chapter! Do you want to audition?” And I did. And these packagers gave me characters to write about. Characters with flaws, interests, different streaks in their personalities, etc. So now I had to craft a voice for them, for many characters I hadn’t even created myself?? Talk about hard! But you know what? That was the BEST writing exercise ever. I was forced to get out of my comfort zone and explore different personalities that I wouldn’t normally write about.

Now THAT helped me with the voice thingy. I got into these many different characters’ minds. Trying to really get their goals, what made them tick. I got into the exact moment of their scenes, the conflicts in their heads. And slowly, things started to click together for me. Because I had learned to feel the characters. 

I think voice is about that. When you are writing with your heart, with your guts, when you FEEL THROUGH your character.

So, this is my tip if you want to work on your voice. It’s an exercise: go to Netflix or whatever, and pick 4-6 characters from a movie/series that you know well BUT wouldn’t normally write about. And write a scene—like fan fiction, but WAY OUT of your comfort zone. And don’t stop until you truly feel those characters. Explore the words they like to use and see why, and zoom in their minds--and create, too. And when there's even a sentence in your writing that reads without a voice, ask yourself, why?

It worked for me, at least. I started to get compliments on my voice. I got a three-book deal—with FOUR different voices. And most of all, I can finally say, I am happy with my own voice. And, if in the future I get voice rejections, I’ll be like, whatevs.

Tell me, did you find your voice? How? 

Friday, August 14, 2015

MEGA GIVEAWAY! Many Pitch Wars mentors will give away first-chapter critiques!

Some of the Pitch Wars mentors, including me, are hosting a chapter-critique Rafflecopter Giveaway! Anyone can enter. It starts at midnight tonight and will run until September 4, 2015! 

Here’s the list of mentors that will participate giving a chapter critique:

Brenda Drake, author of TOUCHING FATE and THIEF OF LIES.
Mónica B. Wagner, author of FROSH: FIRST BLUSH.
Kate Brauning, author of HOW WE FALL.
Emily Martin, author of THE YEAR WE FELL APART.
N.K. Traver, author of DUPLICITY.
Helene Dunbar, author of WHAT REMAINS.
Joy McCullough-Carranza, who’s supporting Laura’s Shovan book, THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY.
J.A. Souders, author of RENEGADE~REVELATIONS~REBELLION         
Kelly Siskind, author of CHASING CRAZY.
Trisha Leaver, author of THE SECRETS WE KEEP.
Michelle Hauck, author of GRUDGING: BIRTH OF SAINTS and KINDAR'S CURE.
K.T. Hannah, author of CHAMELEON.
Lee Gjertsen Malone, author of THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH'S.
Sarah Nicolas, author of DRAGONS ARE PEOPLE, TOO.
Stacey Trombley, author or NAKED

Here’s how this giveaway will work: you’ll get a free entry just for stopping by and signing in, and if you want to increase your chances, you can support the mentors by buying their books or pre-ordering them. If you want to increase your odds to get a critique from a particular mentor, you can go and buy/preorder said mentor’s book by following the links above. You can buy more than one book, and up your chances in more than one giveaway, too! You might even win a chapter critique by more than one mentor.

UPDATE!! The giveaway ended and here are the winners! WOOHOO!! 

Kate Brauning
winner: Nicole Hoeffs. 

Michelle Hauck
winner: Heather.

Sarah Nicolas
winner: Meredith Kreisa. 

Lee Gjersten Malone
winner: Kirk Kraft.

Elizabeth Briggs
Marc M.

Kate Brauning
Tracy Davies.

Lisa Maxwell
Jone MacCulloch.

K.T. Hanna
Jake Trauberman.

Tamara Mataya
Gemma Krambousanos.

Kate Karyus Quinn
Sandra S. Rice.

Jaye Robin Brown
Alyssa. C.

J.A. Souders
Nicole Alana. 

Mónica Bustamante Wagner
Samantha Lim. 

Brenda Drake
Jason Robbins.

Brighton Walsh
Shyanne T. 

Trisha Leaver
Sussu Leclerc.

Kelly Siskind
Katherine Pisana. 

Emily Martin
Jason Temple. 

Helene Dumbar
Sofia Embid.

Stacey Graham
Natasha Kassam.

Stacey Trombley
Elena Tabachnick.

Joy McCullough-Carranza/ Laura Shovan
Brian Montano.
Kelly Barina. 

Jami Nord
Nicole Hoeffs.

Mindy McGinnis picked her winner on her own rafflecoper.
The mentors have your email addresses from the Rafflecopter and they will contact the winners! If you won and don't hear from your mentor in the next 3 days, please let me know in the comment section of this post. Let me know if you have questions!

Thank you all for participating!