Friday, December 10, 2010

The Gift of Voice

The best Christmas present I received this year was from a complete stranger: an author who put an excerpt of my book in front of 13 literary agents, editors, published and unpublished authors. (see previous post)

While I received some great input on how to improve the opening of the novel, the most important thing I received was affirmation of my writing voice. When I’d completed the novel last May, I knew I’d nailed Cissy’s voice. She spoke to me more clearly than any other character I’ve created. There was no way I could have resisted that voice. It was the reason I dropped two other novels in progress and jumped into her story.

The reviewers who read a snippet of my book heard Cissy, too, and for that I am incredibly thankful. Here are just a few of the comments. While these make me feel great, I have Cissy to thank for allowing me to tell her story.

“Hello voice! I’m right inside her head.”

“The voice here is fantastic- you've nailed it!"

“While I don't gravitate toward books with darker themes- there are some great ones out there (The Color Purple, The Lovely Bones). It was the voice that captured me in both of those and made me want to read the dark plots. Again, magnificent voice! And that's often the hardest part!”

“I actually really enjoyed this first bit of your story. I was drawn right in to her head. Her voice was great. Very believable. From the log line I got that the story is not actually about the incest (which, yes, is really tough), but rather about the adventure and relationship with her grandmother that brings healing to her life. That is what I found myself eager to read about.”

“As for the excerpt, the voice is fantastic and I have absolutely no problem with it being backstory because it gets right to the point instead of being irritatingly coy. The last paragraph is enough conflict to hook me (if I weren't already hooked by that amazing voice).”

“Totally hooked. Beautiful voice, unusual setup of what might be a cliched problem. This character's got spunk, and I'd be interested to read how she handles the aftereffects of her father's abuse and her own actions to stop it.”

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