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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Be True To Your Voice - Erin Cawood

As a writer your "voice" is probably the most important tool you'll ever have. Without it you're ... well you're a chocolate teapot or a snowball in hell.

When I was younger, I discovered romance on the pages of a Danielle Steel's novel and between the sheets of Mills & Boon (Harlequin). When I first dreamed of becoming a published author the stories and novellas that I wrote at 14 reflected the voice of a romance writer.

Then I grew up and life got in the way and I lost my passion for writing.

I was a late comer in discovering Chick-Lit, such as Bridget Jone's Diary. Author's like Marian Keyes and Katie Fforde have become favourites of mine but it wasn't until five years ago did I rediscover my passion for writing. I was studying an A-Level in English Language and we had to pick a text and write it for a different audience, in a different genre, whilst keeping the story and the fundamentals the same. I turned a classic novel in the style of Bridget Jones and what I learned was that I was able to immitate writing very well. Soon after I began my first novel and my "voice" was still as it had ever been. But I wasn't feeling it anymore. My "voice" had evolved into the Chick-Lit, sassy, fun, rom-com style of writing.

Recently, as an unpublished author, I entered Mills & Boon's New Voices competition. I had a great plan for a chick-lit I've been working on over the summer and when I learned that New Voices was coming back this year I thought I'd use it. I made a fundamental mistake. I changed my voice to suit the traditional modern romance series. I should have aimed my entry for the new RIVA series which suits my voice and plot better. Within 24 hours of putting my entry in I regretted it. It wasn't me. It wasn't my voice. I couldn't be 1000% happy with what I'd done because I wasn't true to my voice.

You can mix it up, target a different audience, write in a different genre, have a different purpose for your writing but you have to be true to your voice. Its the most important tool you have.



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The Legal Bit

All characters have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation to anyone baring the same name. They are not inspired by an individual known or unknown by the author and all incidents are pure invention.

The articles, excerpts, and other written work published under the pseudonym Erin Cawood are copyright protected by the author. Guest articles are published by arrangement and also copyright protected by the guest author.

Images of Erin Cawood are provided by Paul Miguel Photography.

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