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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Losing Your Voice?

Well, I'm back. It feels as though I have been gone FOREVER! As I'm sure you've gathered by now, it was a tough week with the passing of my Grandmother last Saturday, and then the traveling to Florida for the services and back again on Friday. Then, yesterday morning called for us to jump right back into the thick of things with our huge Easter event that we host every year. All I can say is, thank God this week is Spring Break and I'm off from school. Even though I still will have a lot to accomplish this week, I can sleep in a little and work from home. YES! Love that!

I was going to dedicate my first post following my return to my precious Mam-maw. But, I'm still processing quite a lot. So, I will hold off until later in the week. I will, however, return to the art of writing.

Question...are you a character or plot motivated writer?

I, myself, am intensely character driven. I don't know why that is, it's just the way I write.

My characters are my motivation. I love all of their quirks, emotions, baggage from past relationships and situations, and just like us, their unpredictability. I'm like a protective mother in some aspects, as I find myself wanting to save them from from their bad decisions and inevitable heartache. Yet, I have to allow them the freedom to learn and grow on their own.

But, I know that every writer is different, as they should be. What would literature be without plot-driven authors as well? I read all kinds of novels, and I'm enriched by the different styles and voice that come from within the soul of each author.

This brings me back to my original question...are you losing your writing voice? I ask because it occurred to me that so many of us, in the motivation to write well, fall prey to trying to become someone else other than ourselves in our voice and/or style. We may be character-driven, but read a great plot-motivated work that inspires us, and find that we want to write just like that, or vice-versa.

It's a wonderful thing for us to remain challenged. I'm reading The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. LOVE IT! I enjoy her unique descriptiveness and abstract thought. I read M.T. Anderson's The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing a few times a year. His use of vocabulary is almost intimidating to me as it challenges me to be a better writer. It thoroughly stretches my brain capacity. Can I learn from these two fabulous award-winning authors? Absolutely. Will I try to glean something from them? Yes. Will I try to BE them? I don't want to be "Anderson-like" or "Proulx-like," I want to be me, CJ.

Each of us should be careful to remain true to what inspires us; to remain true to our personal writing heart. Different prose, voice, and style, give us the diversity of works that are either literary, romance, mystery, fantasy, or...well, you get the picture. We need to continue to embrace our own unique voice, while at the same time, allowing ourselves to be continually challenged and stretched.


Shoe Mood:

Not really a particular mood. I just wore these to church today.
64 degrees. Tootsie-bells just liked being out for some fresh air.


Bish Denham said...

I am glad you returned home safely CJ. No need to rush into writing about your grandmother. Do not write about her for us. Write about her for you, write down those things that bubble up. If all it is, for now, is a list go with the flow, more will come to you. She will always be with you.

I am probably more character driven too. As writers we each of us stands on the shoulders of all those authors who have gone before us. We can't not help but absorb something from them. I don't think this is wrong thing, I think it makes us who we are. We take from our parents different bits of DNA , yet each of us is uniquely individual. It's the same for writers, artists, musicians. We are made up of bits and pieces of those we admire, love, respect; yet we are still unique individuals.

Nora MacFarlane said...

I agree with Bish on both accounts. Write about your Ma-maw for you, not us.

I'm a character driven writer. I always have the character before the plot. They tell me their story. I tweak it to make it work.

CJ Raymer said...

Bish - Thank you, sweet friend. I agree. I will write about her for me. I hope in the process, it blesses you as well.

I totally agree about the DNA thing. We can't help but be inspired by great writers, and in the process, glean something fabulous from them.

Nora - I'm the same! I always have my guys and gals first. They let me know what works for them. (Although, I do have the last say!) ;-)

nanmarino said...

I like what you had to say about voice. I'm a character-driven writer also. When I try to plot out my stories, my characters sometimes end up doing things they really don't want to do.
I'm sorry to hear about the death of your grandmother.

Rena said...

I'm glad your home safe as well. Your grandmother sounded like an awesome lady (from what you shared on FB) and I can't wait to read more about her later.

I guess I'm character-driven when it comes to writing. It's kind of hard for me to say because mostly I just write PBs. Right now I have some characters I really want to write about, but I'm not sure on the plot. I guess I'll just have to wait until the idea hits me.

Love the shoes -- :)

Angela said...

Glad you're home. I know this has been a difficult time and I think the break will help you de stress and process. Lots of hugs!

C.R. Evers said...

((((hugs)))) I'm so sorry for your loss.

I think I may tend to be more plot driven. I try to balance plot and character, but plot tends to come easier and I have to work harder at character. . . so I have to go w/ plot.

p.s. luv luv luv the shoes!!!!


CJ Raymer said...

nan - I know exactly what you mean about our characters. And, thanks about my Grandmother. XOXO

Rena - My Mam-maw was awesome! Wish you gals could have known her. (((hugs)))

Angela - Thanks, sweet friend. MUAH!

C.R. - Thanks bunches. Glad you like the shoes! ;-)

Juls said...

I am back!!

Must Reads

  • "A Long Fatal Love Chase" by Louisa May Alcott
  • "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell
  • "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith
  • "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo
  • "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier
  • "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing" by M.T. Anderson
  • "The Grace Awakening" by Charles Swindoll