|Are you feeling a|
- Stephen Spielberg -- Has a knack for creating adorable and loving aliens, like the ones in Cocoon, A.I., E.T., and Super 8. He also loves creating sci-fi creatures that munch on unsuspecting scientists (Jurassic Park) and swimmers (Jaws) and pretty much anything that deals with World Wars (Schindler's List and War Horse). He's a bit of a softy when it comes to his main characters. Most often, when I see his films, if anything is lacking in the storyline, then throw in an alien!
- Michael Bay -- Do you want something blown to kingdom come? Something that works well as a tent pole blockbuster (any Transformers film, The Island, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor)? Then Bay is the director for you. He likes to make a big summer splash at the movie theaters.
- Tim Burton -- Ever get the feeling that the dead are watching you? Or maybe just some creepy guy with crazy hair and scissors for hands? Burton seems to enjoy the theater of the absurd. Look at just about anything on his long list of credentials -- Edward Scissorhands, Mars Attacks, James and the Giant Peach, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Ed Wood, or Corpse Bride -- and you'll see that he has a thing for the other-worldly part of life. And his go-to actors are, without a doubt, the lovely Johnny Depp and his longtime partner, Helena Bonham Carter.
Let's try the above game with a few authors, shall we. What comes to mind when you hear mentioned the following authors' names: Jodi Picoult, Nora Roberts, Clive Cussler, or Stephenie Meyers?
Never one to avoid
Meyers conjures up images of pasty vampires hanging out in a sunless Washington state. Picoult usually means a controversial subject of sorts laced with the threads of a believable storyline. Roberts creates a hit or miss atmosphere of romance (depending on which book you read of hers). And Cussler usually means adventure, whether in an airplane, on the high seas, or stuck somewhere in the middle of a desert. These authors have formed a style that reflects (or at one time reflected) their passion for the stories that have kept them awake at night, wondering what would happen to their heroine/hero if he/she married that man/sacrificed a kidney to save a sibling/got involved with the creepy kids at school/tried to get that bomb on a plane.
The same goes for your novel. Romance authors don't write in the same style (flowery and filled with visions of love) as would a detective author (find the bad guy and make him pay). If you want to be taken seriously in the writing world, take time to create your voice. Make sure your characters have what it takes to make the reader want to invest his or her time in the book. Have a plot that not only flows, but one that is also believable. Lastly, don't force something onto the page. If you think it feels like a seventh-grader wrote it, then so will every agent you query.
Writing is entertainment. If you're only entertaining yourself with the stories you write, then maybe you should rethink the writing gig. Let your voice be heard in a way that will set you apart from other authors, but at the same time not turn away prospective readers. It's a fine line to walk, but it's what must be done. After all, wouldn't it be nice to reach Spielberg's or Roberts' status?
|Know your style and|
let your writing voice