I was at my first (only) Romance Writers of America convention listening to a panel of authors discuss how they came to be published. Eve Silver/Kenin said she always wanted to write light, humorous Regencies. So, she started writing one, except, it became dark and brooding. What was wrong? She tried again. A different story, same darn outcome — dark, dark, dark. Finally, she figured it out: light was not her voice. D’oh! Once she fell into her natural writing voice, the words and the stories came easily. Now, she is a well-pubbed author with Gothic, Post-Apocalyptic, and Paranormal Romances to her credit, with nary a light one in the bunch.
My mouth hung open, just a little, when I heard this story.
I had the exact opposite problem. I wanted to write dark, brooding tales; paranormal romances with tortured, damaged (did I say tortured?) heroes and heroines who’d fought back against enormous odds. So, I’d start to write something dark and Gothic and brooding, and everything would fall apart. One liners flew out of nowhere, physical comedy dashed itself onto the page, and banter, banter, banter — ack! could no one just have a meaningful (tortured) conversation? Do you see where I’m going?
I could not write dark.
Okay. So, there’s this wildly talented author telling me she tried to write light, and couldn’t. Maybe, just maybe, I should learn something from this. So I gave in, I let the banter fly, let the physical comedy run amok — I enjoyed writing again. I enjoyed it. I’m not saying it was/is brilliant, but I enjoyed it, wanted to get back to my characters, back to the situations I had thrown them into. It was fun!
So my point, and I do have one, is: To thine own writing voice be true.
That’s all, don’t force yourself to be Ernest Hemingway if you’re actually Janet Evanovich, and certainly don’t be Janet if you are, indeed, Ernest.
Don’t. You’ll be happier, trust me.