Author discussions, Blogs

You’re not a Writer until you’ve found your Voice…

I’ve been a writer for a very long time, if the truth is told I’ve been a writer for my entire life, mostly for my own amusement or for educational purposes, exams etc. However I’ve only been a serious writer since the turn of this Century… 
I decided to teach myself how to write novels, I’d always been able to write short stories, but didn’t know how to weave the strands of a novel, so I bought software called Dramatica, at the time it was written in very arcane language which had me scratching my head as to exactly what the hell it was talking about. The programme has improved over the years. 
I’d no sooner mastered how to write a novel, the nuts and bolts of the process, when I discovered screenwriting for films. 
I’ve always had a million stories flying around in my head (plenty of space for them) and realising that I could write stories without having to go into detail was liberating, and allowed me to write stories in a fraction of the time a novel would take… 
So, in 2007 I took my MA in screenwriting at Edinburgh Napier University, graduating in 2008. The venture into writing for film was very disappointing, despite having five of my scripts made into short films. 
What we were never told was that the industry is largely run on Nepotism and the buddy system. So if a relation was in the business… no problem… The same is true for funding (what little there is in Scotland) it’s always the same names that get the money… So no chance for unknowns!
That left the question for a frustrated screenwriter (me!) what to do? I decided that I would go back to writing novels again and the move has been extremely satisfying. I have seen the completion of four full-length novels, two in a series with the third of the series in progress.
During the course of this long(ish) career I’ve always been told; “in order to be a writer you must find your voice…” Now I’ve always been a bit bewildered by this phrase and have asked lots of people who have uttered the phrase what (exactly) do they mean? Nobody has ever given me a satisfactory answer to the question!
During a course I was on today the question was said again and I asked for an explanation, and this is the answer I received.
“You’ll know you have your voice when you’re comfortable with the characters and genre you write about and your stories flow…” So I said, after some thought. 
“I’m really enjoying writing about Wilson Small and his Angel companion as they battle against demons from hell, as in my two novels of the series; “One Man’s Fault”, “The Beholden” and my current novel “The Vulgare manuscripts”…  
“There you go then, you’ve found your voice you’re a Fantasy Horror writer…”
“But what about my thriller “Lesser Expectations”, and my Young Adult Fantasy story, “The Santa Stone”? I really enjoyed writing them as well… and they were very easy to write?”
“Er… well… yeah… right…”
Alas, I’m none the wiser… I suppose I’ll just have to go along with that assessment of my “voice”… “I’m a fantasy horror writer”… unless someone tells me different…

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