Lifting The Lace

The best way she could describeΒ it was with a piece of lace.

Let’s be honest. I mean, really honest. How many times have you heard Write What You Know?

I’m sick of that phrase. I hate that phrase. Every time I hear it I want to smash something. What does it mean, anyway? A friend of mine has started to break down that wall for me in a post she put up the other day. These words struck me, especially:

It’s about letting your experiences form the basis of what you write, of writing from your own pain, your own suffering, extrapolating from things you’ve actually felt and translating them into similar situations, even if the characters are inhuman or the setting isn’t Earth.

Writing what we know means being honest with ourselves, and allowing that honesty to spill into our writing. Notice I say spill. Not leak. Not drip.

And right now I feel like a dry well.

Hidden

When I flew out to Washington D.C., I spent some quality time with a friend I met online. For the first time since meeting each other, we were able to sit down in person and talk face to face. I shared a lot of writing experiences with Lois. I showed her some of my past work, as well. Since she had read my latest work, Monarch, we discussed some issues I was having with it.

The best way she could help me was to describe my book like a beautiful painting. She could see its potential, but it was covered. Hiding. With a piece of lace.

The lace is beautiful, but what is underneath is even more beautiful. She could see bits and pieces of my true voice shining through the holes. “Just lift it up,” she told me. “If you’re brave enough. Write what you know you can write. What you want to write, not what others want you to write. Let them see the painting.”

Easier said than done.

Still Hidden

Another good friend of mine (the one who wrote about honesty up above) sent me an email this morning. She’s reading through Monarch and said things “clicked” for her last night. I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing her words:

My basic issue with it – well, you know how everyone keeps saying you need to cut stuff? I think this is actually the symptom of a deeper problem, not the problem itself.

The plot is GREAT; it’s twisty, it’s pacey, it’s fabulous. The characterisation is mostly fabulous, and I think the bits that aren’t quite 100% are that way not because of the characters but because of the prob I’m getting to. Setting/description is great, very well evoked. Themes and symbols come through nicely too.

See one thing missing from this list?

She goes on to explain that it’s the voice that’s missing. My voice. A voice she has seen in my other writing.

You know what?

I hate the word VOICE, too. It’s almost as bad as the Write What You Know phrase. But if I think of it in terms of lace and art, it doesn’t seem so bad. To me, voice is the honesty I’m keeping away from my writing. It’s the experiences of my life welled up inside that aren’t getting through. It’s writing what I know, not what I want others to think I know.

Feedback

I am getting so much feedback from my beta readers on Monarch. I’m in awe and constant admiration of those of you who are taking the time to give me your valuable thoughts and opinions! It is helping immensely.

As far as lifting the lace from my work, I’m not sure how to go about it or if I really want to at this point in the game. I have a feeling that the fabric full of holes might be heavier than I think.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle

54 comments

Firstly, yes. The post makes complete sense and I agree with it, actually. I think the problem some of us have is what you summed up as “writing what you know” vs “writing what you want others to think you know” and there is a big difference.The other part is, for everyone, your writing is personal. No matter what it’s about, there is a certain level of you in it and to a certain degree, you’re going to protect yourself/your emotions/your heart, basically. So then it becomes an issue of self-preservation vs. putting your whole self out there (not just the parts you think you want people to see).I hope that makes sense. πŸ™‚ Good luck!

scott g.f. bailey

This post is ubersensible. One of the problems with my book was that I was keeping my narrator sort of aloof, and I solved it by letting him feel honestly about things. Which entailed letting myself do that. I didn’t want to write about his emotions because I didn’t want to have to be him, if you know what I mean, and let those feelings onto the page. As WindyA says, we all want to protect ourselves. So there’s that about voice.Somewhere I read a piece of advice that we should write about things that make us uncomfortable, that there lie the real truths we want to express but generally only hint at. Which takes, as you say, honesty.About Write What You Know, I can only agree with you that it’s an annoying, meaningless guideline. I think a better formulation is “Write what you care about.” If you don’t know something, your passion for the subject will lead you to do good research.So write what you care about, as honestly as you can.(Someday I’ll actually read Monarch; for now, revisions are Eating My Brain.)

I don’t pay much heed to Write What You Know, but I suspect I do it subconsciously.The vast majority of artists are incredibly self conscious about their work, and to many of us our best pieces will never be done. They may be published, and knock on wood they may be record breaking bestsellers, but I bet if that happened to you you would still read it back and find a ton of things you would want to change and make better.I know at times I’ve over-saturated my novel with my voice, and other times I revised the voice right out of the manuscript. This is a difficult craft. It’s lonely, too. Writing a novel is mind numbing. I think that’s why the writing on my blog is just plain silly most of the time; it give me the opportunity to detach and refresh my muse.Of course, I spend more time commenting on writing-centric blogs like this one and the Literary Lab than I do writing my own blog (and some days my novel ;-).

Very nice post. Thanks, Glam. And very true. Heh. I always thought the whole ‘write what you know’ was shorthand for research, but I like the whole emotional element that’s added in. My characters are the ones that drive the show, so it’s uber important to let them think or feel, through me. ;DAll of these silly writing terms that are supposed to make things easier, but leave us all scratching our heads. πŸ™‚ I think of voice as the author’s unique fingerprint. Going back to paintings, take Rembrandt for example. He’s painted a lot of different pictures, but if you look at them closely enough, you see him in the paint, waving at you. A Rembrandt is obviously a Rembrandt–if you know what you’re looking for. Just as a Monet is a Monet. They all painting many different things, but their fingerprints are all over the canvas.Makes perfect sense, and very beautifully articulated. Am I honest in my stories? I think so. My brain goes to a different place when I write, things tie together that I never even envisioned in the first place. I’m not me when I’m writing, if that makes sense. Or, put another way, I’m different fragments of myself as I write, each fragment being a character. All those voices in my head are just me talking to myself. Loudly. Obnoxiously. But me.

Davin Malasarn

Lady Glamis, I can sympathize with you. But, on the other hand, I don’t even pretend to think that the lace is light. In my opinion, writing uncensored is THE most difficult challenge in creating art. To do it, we have to magically let go of all the information we have been raised with about what other people like and what they consider to be good. I’ve accepted this as a very long journey, probably a life journey, and I satisfy myself with the thought that I’m getting better at doing with each new year or so. The fact that your readers can see even a glimpse of your voice is a great sign. It means that in some moments you are able to let go. Maybe you could go back to these places and try to figure out what sort of mindset you had when you were writing them. By understanding that mindset, you will hopefully be able to figure out how you can get to that writing mode again and more often.

Jody Hedlund

I think “write what you know” stems from writing what you love, whether its your genre or even more specifically the things you love about your genre.Even deeper, I think that as writers we have to tap into our passions. When we’re writing what we love and we combine that with the simmering of passions deep inside us, then it can come together into a beautiful tapestry. (As long as the craft is working too.)

I definitely understand this post. It reminds of a particular manuscript of mine I just edited for the third or fourth time. But, it had been over a year, maybe even more, since I last sat down and read it through. I remembered this great story and characters I love and thought it was going to be pretty simple. Boy was I wrong.My manuscript was completely lacking any kind of voice. It was not a pleasant thing to realize and it ended up taking me much longer to edit it than I thought, completely rewriting some parts and wondering how some of it could sound so good while other parts sounded like it was the first time I’d ever written a story.Long story short, I realized how much I’ve grown as a writer, but I also realized one of my shortcomings, which is a unique voice (or at least one that’s suited to the genre of the book). Funny how I couldn’t figure out quite what it was until I read your post. Thanks, and good luck with any revisions you decide to do!

This post made plenty of sense to me, and some of it resonated with me quite well, though I don’t know if I necessarily agree with you entirely. Personally, I like the concept of Voice. It encompasses the tone, syntax, diction, style, and x-factor elements that put writing over the top. It’s what I always look for in books and hope for in my writing. I think that Voice, as an aspect of writing, shouldn’t be underestimated.

Glass Dragon

Does this post make sense to me? Yes. I understand the concepts of write what you know and honesty in your writing. The “voice” issue is a little fuzzy for me.Are authors only allowed to have one voice? I’ve read two books by the same author and marvelled at how different they were. Each had it’s own distinct “voice”. It wasn’t a bad thing. Each book was good in its own right.Is your “voice” really missing from Monarch, or is a new “voice” trying to emerge? Or is this “voice” stuff just a load of tripe that people made up in ages past to sound more sophisticated in literary circles? Hmm…Since I write purely for fun, I’ve never analyzed my literary doodles to see if they contain my true “voice”. Unless my true voice is sarcasm. In that case, I’ve totally got it covered! πŸ˜›

Wow…I hope this isn’t you giving up on MONARCH. That would be a shame. πŸ™ I enjoyed reading it, and I don’t think that it needs as much work as you think. Maybe take a break then come back to it??? Certainly makes sense how one could get fed up with revisions.READ THIS POST! http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2009/03/guest-blogger-terry-brennan.html

Makes total sense to me. Looks like you’ve gotten some great advice both here and there. I know how you feel about being a dry well. I feel the same way.

Huh. I was thinking about the dreaded “Write what you know” –gag– advice last night. And I was thinking of voice. My voice, unfortunately, changes depending on my mood, what I’ve just read, who I’ve been hanging around with, etc. How do you find your voice?

This is the first time the phrase ‘write what you know’ has actually made sense to me.

What an interesting post Glam! It could be the voice that’s missing, but don’t solidify that thought. The beauty of Voice is that some can hear it, some can’t. Those who do, some love it and some hate it. I haven’t read far enough to know whether what your friend says has merit, but it sounds like you trust her advice. The nice thing is that if you have an awesome plot and good characterization, there’s very much a chance someone will still pick this up and help you refine it. πŸ™‚ So don’t feel discouraged!Also, in my editor rejection the editor mentioned that my dialogue was a tad stilted. The funny thing is that every contest I’d entered, my dialogue was marked and commented on as really strong. So it’s all in perception (and again, I’m not trying to negate your friend’s advice because she’s more knowledgeable about you and the story.)This is really a good post. I write what I love, but also what I know. The emotions I’ve felt, I’ve put into my characters.One was cheated on. I’ve never been cheated on, but I have been betrayed in a sense, and I used the bitterness and choking feeling to convey my character’s emotions. *crossing fingers and hoping it worked*This is such a good post, Glam. Great food for thought.

Robin of My Two Blessings

Yes, your post makes perfect sense.The way I look at it is, if I only wrote what I know, it would be a pretty darn boring novel. So, I’m writing what I want to know and having fun researching it. I love trying to get into the head of my characters, finding their voice and writing the story from their point of view. Yes, it is hard tapping your emotions in order to give a character the right emotions. It is draining and can be down right scary, especially if it is a villain type character. I think to myself, where on earth did I dig that up from. Even though it is all imagination, it tugs at your emotions, because you are putting yourself in that persons shoes. And I have a pretty darn vivid imagination. Sometimes, you just have let your characters take over and let them tell the story, rather than you tell them what to do. I also had to get over thinking what will my mom think when she reads it and write for myself and not censor it because of that. I only had time to read about the first 3 chapters of Monarch and haven’t had time to analyze it. But from what you are saying and what your friend has said, all I can say is – don’t be afraid to get into your characters heads. Paint their pictures as vividly as you can. As far as your question goes: do I feel I’m being completely honest when I write? I really don’t know how to answer that. Am i my characters – no. Some of them lie, cheat, steal, etc. Am I being true to myself, writing what I want for me, then I would say yes. Is my writing genuine and coming from me. Yes. So I would say be genuine and true to yourself. There’s are great article by the visual writer at http://www.visualwriter.com/ScriptDr/Advanced/Honest.htmDorian says: “What honest writing is about, I believe, is developing characters who believe their own things and have their own problems, putting them into a story and letting them illuminate the human condition. Honest characters with whom the writer is genuinely intrigued, put in honest situations (plot), and allowed to develop freely, will develop honest stories. Writers can develop the storyline before writing the story, and if the premise is incorrect, the characters will tell him.”Listen to your characters. I’m in the process of doing just that with my very first wip and will probably end up rewriting most of the story, but looking forward to it.Hope this helps.

Robin of My Two Blessings

Whoops, the link cut off.It is http://www.visualwriter.com/ScriptDr/Advanced/Honest.htmI'll email it to you tomorrow. I have to get back to work now. πŸ™‚

Oh, I feel so sorry for you. I hate that moment when I realize exactly what’s wrong…and how much work that will take.But the bright side: you know the problem. And now you CAN fix it, no matter how hard it is. And I KNOW you can do it!

Goodness yes, it’s makes a world of sense to me. I’m sick to death of write what you know and ready to ax murder the next person who utters the word voice; yet, one of my focus in my WIP is to bring out the voice of the MC. It’s sickening, really. But just know we’re others out there (including me) are struggling with these things as well.p.s. Forgive my slowness with getting to Monarch. I am really excited about reading it, but I’m really swamped.

Robert A Meacham

If I just wrote about what I know, I would bore the heck out of me and everybody else…so I make stuff up…okay, I use life’s little experiences to navigate me.Me, I know you the heck I am so I write perceptions, interpretations, and so on. Does that make sense? I am inspired by the littlest of things sometimes or by reactions to huge events…I have found that after I write and then read what I have written, if I do not get a chill up the spine, my reader will not either.

Ever since I started writing, I’ve heard how important it is to find your voice. I still don’t know if I have found my voice yet. But I agree with Jessica, that sometimes your voice may be there…just not recognized by some. Good luck on refining your manuscript.

Voice is tricky, and not every published author has one that’s solid. For me, I stumbled on my Voice in journalisim class. My teacher pointed out that she could read my articles and know who it was writing without seeing a byline.I analyzed that, dissected it, and found that Voice was me writing for me and like me. It isn’t forced writing. When you force certain word choice and ideas you can lose Voice.I’m not sure if it’s a matter of honesty, that might be a way of looking at it. But it’s a matter of not being timid. I know you have 20+ beta-readers. They’re all going to be clamoring. And rewriting. And shouting. But they aren’t you and this isn’t their story. You can look at what they say, but you can’t let someone else write Monarch. You have to write it how it feels right to you. As for Write What You Know… maybe if you’re writing non-fiction. Otherwise it’s useless. I don’t know what it feels like to be shunned by my fiancee for surviving an accident. I don’t know what it feels like to lose a boyfriend and have a bad break-up at all. But I write about characters who do. I can empathize with them even though I don’t know those emotions. Even though I’ve never been in a space ship or had a leg amputated or gone to war. Next time someone hands you that advice, pat them on the head, and tell them they’re dosage is off…

Oh, this makes fabulous sense to me! I work in advertising and every time someone says “think outside of the box” I cringe. Same thing with “write what you know” – especially if it’s taken literally.If we, as authors, only wrote about what we knew, well, I certainly wouldn’t be writing about the things I write about. But the things I do “know” come from my life experiences – namely emotions, struggles, hopes, dreams, insecurities, etc. Writing, I think, has to connect, not only to us as the authors, but, more importantly, to the readers. So when that connection is made, and it has to be an honest one, an author’s true “voice” shines through. Funny, now that I think on it, writing is very much like acting. You can’t hold back on your performance.

The lace is getting thinner with this revision. I can see more of the painting. When your voice shines through it is so lovely. Keep striving to get it all the through! You can do it. You’re that good. *does flying split-leaps and throws pom-poms in the air*

Thank you so much for this post. The description of the lace being heavy made me picture chains.So many great commnents too. I especially like Rick’s comment about how he has at time’s revised the voice out of his story. That’s the danger.With so mnay experts, industry people especially, telling us what and how to write it is all too easy to revise the voice out of our writing.I’m curious how you would feel if you went back to the original first draft, if it is still around. Would it have the honest expression you are talking about? I’m talking about rhythm, style, and sentiment, not just content.

I love every part of this post. Seriously. Now this has voice! All the way. Ditto on the write what you know thing. I’m over hearing it.And re:voice. It took me the longest time to even halfway get this. But I think for me the thing that finally made a lasting impression was reading stuff with a voice I loved. And then being able to recognize I don’t love every voice out there. And mine will be my own.And when people comment on my voice in WIPs, I take it as the highest compliment which can be paid.

Great post. I also agree that Write what you know and find your voice are two very annoying phrases.Sometimes I think that you can’t set out to create voice you have to stumble into. You have write and write to figure it out. Like someone else said, sometimes I read my book and it’s totally awesome and sometimes I read sections and say what the hell is that.

Renee Collins

Ah, Michelle, this post could have been a page from my diary (if I kept a diary . . . and if I had written a novel named Monarch.)All I can say is, I feel you, girlfriend. You have pinpointed some of the problems/issues that often plague me as a writer. They are things that we all must somehow grasp and deal with.Have I learned how? Nope. So, I’m afraid I don’t have any great advice to share. I can, however, say that I am right there struggling through this with you.

Yes, i have the same view because it is naturally and logical to make such conclusion. Stay cool and let us not be control by our emotion. We are the captain of our bodies, minds and soul. I know it is not easy, but you need to overcome it for the good of yourself. I believe you can do it. Cheers and have a great day everyday,

Justus M. Bowman

“Does this post make any sense to you?”Yes.”If so, do you feel like you’re being completely honest when you write?”Yes, but it took a while for me to summon enough courage to write honestly.

OMGosh! I love this post! I’m so glad i’ve caught it before you’ve posted another one. I’m in the process of rewriting a whole children’s MS (as in new blank page rewriting) because once I was done I was shocked to see how much it didn’t sound like “me”. It was stilted and it read like I was trying too hard. even though the story was great and is sellable (? is that a word?) My voice was missing and it seemed as though I was completely faking the story. i’m rewriting the whole thing now and writing the book for me. Not for kids. I’m telling the story as if I was standing there and I was ten. not as if I was an adult author telling something to a ten year old. Nope. I am ten. I own this experience/story. it is mine and my voice is shining! It’s sooo much better! And the best part is, it’s flying through it’s rewrite. It seems as if I’ve just started and already i’m almost halfway through! Jenni

Annie Louden

This post is AWESOME, and very honest. It makes me feel all crazy and sad inside, because I know what you mean about writing with honesty, and how hard that is, and to look at a project you’ve been working on and see the holes in it, or the heavy lace covering it or whatever. I guess I don’t have any advice, but I really feel for you. Writing is hard!

Windy:I love how you state that “you’re going to protect yourself/your emotions/your heart” – beautifully said. And so true. I makes perfect sense.Scott:”Ubersensible” is my new favorite word now!Great thoughts. Yes, I love to try and write what makes me uncomfortable, but I think I need a bit more. I also like “write what you care about” much better than the other phrase.Perhaps you can read Monarch when as a subsequent draft where my voice really shines through. I’m going to take it down in a few weeks anyway.Rick:I get sucked in by blogging, too. No worries.Yes. Mind numbing and lonely. But so much better when we can share our experiences. It is also true to overdo the voice, I agree. That is when it feels forced.Dani:Good thoughts! I love the fingerprint idea. Sometimes it’s hard to press that fingerprint in so hard it really shows up.Davin:Great advice, thank you! I know that my voice is in there somewhere. In another rewrite and layer I can really start to peel back that heavy lace.Jody:That is the hard part. Combining the two is the trick! When it happens, we have something great and worth selling.Cindy:Glad my post cold help you realize that. I know that I’m grateful to my friends for helping me. This will really help me start to mentally peel back that lace and create a new layer to that painting so it can shine!Dominique:I am not underestimating it, just frustrated at how difficult it can be to create and allow. Thank you for your honest comment!Becca:Part of your voice IS sarcasm, and guess what? It works. It’s fun, and it’s you.Yes, authors can have more than one voice, absolutely. I know that my voice in The Breakaway is different than Monarch. That’s what makes it so hard… to let that voice of Monarch to shine through. I’m not sure I have figured it out yet. One thing to realize is that although there are different voice for an author, at the root of the voice is one consistent sound that resonates in all their work. At least that’s how I like to think of it. Really hard to explain.Traci:That was a fantastic post. Exactly what I needed, thank you!I am NOT giving up on Monarch. No fear. :DRena:Thank you for your understanding. It’s a tough road to be sure.Beth:I have no idea how I find my voice. But I’ve been getting some great ideas as I take a break and get feedback from betas.Rita:Same for me.Jessica:Wow, thanks! Such perfect thoughts for how I am feeling. You make a great point that it all comes down to my own decisions of what needs work, and that perhaps Monarch is closer than I think. Robin:Thank you for such a great comment. I love and agree with everything you said, especially the last quote you shared. And yes, I have to agree wholeheartedly with it being scary to tap into your own emotions to write a character. I’ve been there with my first novel (which as voice!)Beth:Thank you for your belief in my ability! It is truly a wonderful thing that I know what I need to do now.Crimey:No worries! You’ve got a lot on your plate right now. Read when you can!I love that you wrote “ax murder” – LOL. Since you write crime fiction and all. Hehehe.Robert:Chill up the spine. Now THAT is when you know you’ve hit gold. I agree!Jessie:Yes, and I think that voice can hit different chords with each work. I found my voice in my first book, but not this one yet. I also have to remember that I am not finished layering.Liana:Absolutely great advice, thank you! I love your example with finding your voice. The last part made me giggle. Sometimes we just have to go with our own instincts.slhastings:Thank you for visiting! I love your comment, especially about acting. My husband is an actor, and I understand that completely. Great example!Lois:You are an awesome cheerleader. What would I do without you and your amazing analogies?*hugs and much thanks*Dave:Great thoughts! You know, I think some of my voice has been revised out of the manuscript. It’s hard when somebody doesn’t LIKE your voice and you mistake it for something that needs to be cut. Thank you for helping me see that!PJ:Yes, it is a great compliment! I know that I saw and felt your voice in your book. It’s what made it such a great read!Patti:Understood ALL the way! Our mood can make a huge difference.Renee:It’s nice to know I’m not alone. We can learn together and share together.James:Thank you for visiting. We are the captain of our emotions. I just need to channel that into my writing. Thanks. :DJustus:It does take courage!Jenni:Oh, wow! I had to completely rewrite my first book, but not for voice. I know how it feels to start over. Thankfully, I don’t have to do that with Monarch – just need to add some more layers after I peel back that lace. Glad you enjoyed the post!Annie:Awww, thank you for relating! I love it when others feel what I do. I think this is one of the hardest parts of writing – connecting – and I’ve done it with this post, so I just need to do it now in my novel. πŸ˜€

Justus M. Bowman

Michelle,You’ve said a lot of important things that I haven’t understand until later. I’m not referring to this post, but I wanted to thank you now. So, thanks.

Exactly! So well put…I find that when I try to recount something I have seen that was funny or someone else’s experience, it almost always comes off as one dimensional. When I dig down, feel the emotion behind the character…then it almost always come off as more authentic.Who said….”writing is easy, you just sit down at the typewriter and open a vein” ??? Anyway, so true!**glad I found you here! I recognize you from over at Miss Snarks First Victim πŸ™‚

Lynnette Labelle

I think “Write what you know” also has to do with “what you know”. Meaning: if you don’t know anything about being an astronaut, you might have a hard time showing the reader what it’s like. Then, it’s a matter of doing A LOT of research. It’s much easier to write about teaching if you were a teacher, or cutting hair if you were a hairdresser.Lynnette Labellehttp://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

Mark Kerstetter

The oft-repeated injunctions to “write what you know” and to “find your voice” are platitudes of little use without a lot of thought. I like to compare the writer’s work with the actor’s work. Robert Duvall at work was described by director Bruce Beresford as β€œuncanny,” who added, β€œthe hair on the back of my neck stood up.” His reaction is like that of seeing a ghost – that a living person could so completely embody a character made of words by a writer. Duvall explained portraying a character: β€œyou have to be that person as yourself.” Let us ask: who is Robert Duvall? Our answer can only be: someone with great powers of empathy, using what he knows (what we all know – feelings of pain and loss and joy), using himself – his voice – as an instrument. This is what a writer does.

If I walk away from my novels (weeks or months at a time) It’s much easier to see the problems at hand. In fact they blind me with their harsh glare. It’s the best self editing solution. Let it breathe.

Ur friend makes a great point! I tend to try to wrap my stuff in a much too showy way. It’s like wrapping an engagement ring in wrapping paper…there’s not need and the effect would come off better if it was more simple

Excellent post and yes I can relate voice is so hard. I think I keep losing mine :)You have two great beta readers there they are spot on. I felt it but I couldn’t have nailed it like that. Hope it helps you. I must catch you on chat soon and finish our chat. I have Q’s. πŸ™‚

Popped back to let you know I linked to this post on my blog (I really, really hope you don’t mind). I just thought it was a great discussion point and it fit with my post on how and why it takes so much courage to be an aspiring author.Just wanted to let you know and ask belated permission πŸ™‚

Justus:Wow. I’m so glad I can help! Sometimes I’m afraid stuff I say doesn’t make sense or isn’t helpful. Glad to know some of it is. :DTess:Thank you for stopping by and commenting! And following. :DLovely phrase about sitting down to our computer. I often feel that way. We pour our heart and souls into this, and sometimes that’s not enough. We have to connect before we really get that voice to shine through.Of course it’s okay for you to share! I’ll have to go check out your blog in a bit. Thank you.Lynette:I agree, research can mean a lot, and so can platform and experience. I like to think of it more emotionally, though, and that makes it more close… trying to show the depth of human emotion instead of the breadth of human experience.Thank you for visiting!Mark:What a wonderful thought! And you expressed it so well, thank you. I think it does mean making an instrument of ourselves. Only then can we channel the true essence of what we wish to convey.T. Anne:Ah, yes. Breaks! They are definitely necessary. I agree. :DPenny:Yeah, the lace is pretty, but I so desperately want to show what’s underneath it.Alexa:Glad to hear you agree. I hope you aren’t losing your voice! I’d love to chat soon and answer your questions. πŸ˜€

This post does make a LOT of sense. I found you through Tess’s blog and I just want to say that even this post took a lot of honesty to write. I agree with WindyA about the part of ourselves that “preserves” the honesty within. That’s hard to unveil. It sounds as though your Alpha Readers know your “voice” and they love it. Right there you know you have a haven. Believe in that. =] Best of luck.

I usually just settle for writing whatever I want to write, and leave it at that.

Kate Karyus Quinn

Wow, really interesting post. I agree as writers we need to “write what we know”, or more to the point – the truth as we know it. I have no idea how successful I am at doing this though.

Lexicon:Thank you for visiting! Thank you so much for your well wishes and your comment. MUCH appreciated!Stu:You have an excellent point. When it boils down to it, it is OUR writing and nobody else’s! Thank you for visiting.Kate:Eh, success is very hard to rate, as I’ve discovered. I think that’s why publication is such a huge goal for many of us. πŸ˜€

Yes! Wonderful points, perfectly stated! Good luck!

Kelly:Thanks for visiting! I appreciate your comment very much. πŸ˜€

Yes this makes perfect sense. I actually read this the other day and it made me very introspective and I wasn’t sure how to answer.I think that (sticking with the painting metafore) great works of art are usually layers of paints over the top of eachother. They all build together to make the whole. So you need to be sure what is “lace” protecting the painting and what is really a layer of the whole.I hope you can remember to breath and realise that honesty is a very abstract concept in the best of times.

Holly:Perfect example, thank you! The lace IS a layer and sometimes it’s hard to see which layer it is. I am remembering to breathe, yes, and thank you for your kind comment. I love to see you around here. πŸ˜€

Yikes, I’m really late to this conversation again. But thank you for the post. I’m working on revision, and in starting on my second book–which sounds almost exactly like my first!–I realize I have a long way to go when it comes to voice. I will remember your lace analogy next time I’m threatened to scrap the whole project. I’ll look for the glimmers of story peeking through and remember it’s in there . . . somewhere.

Kim:If you figure out how to lift the lace, PLEASE let me know! I’ve read about your contest, by the way. I might put a link here on my blog to it so you get some more traffic and submissions. πŸ˜€

It is a great pleasure for me to leave some of my thought again. It is really mind provoking and I love to think it over and over. There is NO surprise at all to see such a huge crowd of participants to join in and share their thoughts. It is so lively and interesting. In order to lift the lace, perhaps we need divine power to assist us to see the invisible, so let us pray hard, and not by our own capabilities. I know it is going to be a very challenging job. But, by uniting our forces in our prayers, we will be able to accomplish this impossible task. I pray in Jesus’ wonderful name. Amen. God bless you all,

I probably don’t share my WIP exactly because it is almost all voice, all me. Too raw to put out there. If anything I’m on the other end, trying to figure out a way to put it in an ornate frame, maybe draping the window to my soul with some decorative lace, so that the viewers are distracted from seeing only me.”Easier said than done.” So true. * sigh *As you figure out your balance, and how to get there, please do share the journey with us too. That we may also share our evolutions with you. And together all grow.

Alicia:Wow, yeah… I didn’t think of it the other way around! I can definitely think of some of my writings that have too much voice and are too painful to share. Thank you for letting me see this in a different light.

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