Friday the clouds parted and the angels rejoiced. Why? I had a writing epiphany. After several months of frustration, a furrowed brow, and scratching my head each time someone said, “Be careful with your edits, Tracy, I think you’re cutting out your voice,” I FINALLY know what the heck people meant. Telling me, a newbie to the novel writing world, to maintain my voice is like telling a blind person without a cane to watch their step. My readers know what they mean. My critique partner knows what she means. I . . . well, I’m the blind girl about to take a fall.
Correction! I once was blind but now I see.
And this how I gained my sight.
Friday I decided I would not revisit Lost Voice (ah, the irony), the story I wrote for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). However, one of the characters in that story wears some funny t-shirts (i.e., “Despite the look on my face you keep talking,” “You’re not worth my daytime minutes”). I wanted to transfer that person’s edgy style into the characterization of the good friend of my main character in The Collector. TC is steeped in darkness and grief so I am always searching for opportunities for humor to give the reader, my character, and me a break from the sorrow. I opened up
So what does my voice sound like (regardless the story)? I talk in metaphors, so it stands to reason I use them in my writing. I tend to see the world in unique ways, which means my characters describe their world in unique ways. I like hidden meanings in words and dialogue. I like witty conversations. I like stories that thrust you into a mind-body experience, tugging on every emotion. I consider it a success if I make you laugh out loud and cry . . . several times. My characters like these things too. Good thing, too, otherwise I would evict them all. Throw all these elements in a bag, give it a shake, and you get something called: whimsical and off-beat. (bogwitch64 labeled it and my betas agreed. Who freaking knew? Well . . . erm . . . apparently they did. I’m slow on the uptake.)
Now that I know what I tend to do when I write unrestrained and restrained, I can edit and write with my ideal in mind. Ah, sweet clarity. I will squeeze this moment to my bosom, because I know another head-scratching moment is lurking just over the horizon.