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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Finding My Voice

Finding My Voice

I wasted a lot of good years writing depressing poetry about life’s gloomiest and/or wackiest topics. Teenagers meandering down the highway of life searching for answers. My fear of spiders. Lonely old women who drink too much beer. Seriously. Some of it even got published. When I started my first book, a historical romance, I learned something important about myself and, in the process, found my true, authentic voice.

In its first incarnation, Castle Ladyslipper had the most dreadful, dark and dreary plot one could imagine. Sir Garrick of Hawkwood, my hero, was emotionally damaged, thanks to all the conniving women in his life, starting with his mother. (Why is it always the mother who screws up the son?) The opening scene was an epic downer. As my heroine, Emma, scurried across the bailey, she heard William, her brother, calling to her from an upstairs window. She looked up to see the poor lad plunge to his death, a victim of over-enthusiastic waving. Is it any wonder I could barely drag myself to the computer each day?

When my output dwindled to nada, I finally realized I was fighting my nature and consequently hated what I was doing. I ditched the first scene and came up with a new recipe. Step 1. A dash of magic in the form of a crystal, a curse and a ghost. Step 2. A castle full of strong, opinionated women. Step 3. A hunky, chauvinistic knight who believed women were basically large children and should be treated as such. Step 4. Mix thoroughly and see what rises to the top. I started to have fun, found my voice and completed my first book. Along the way, I learned a valuable lesson. As writers, as human beings, we all have to be true to our natures. When we aren’t, we’re fighting a losing battle that manifests itself in stress-related illness and depression as well as incredibly bad writing.

Shakespeare said it best.
“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow as the day the night,
Thou canst not be false to any man.”

Castle Ladyslipper is now available from Awe-Struck Publishing
Please visit my website at


joder said...

I like seeing an author's journey to completing their book. And yes, it's always good to go with your gut.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Virginia said...

I agree you must be true to yourself or it just want work.


desitheblonde said...

you new what you were going to do and it will go high for you

Elie said...

your new recipe sounds like one for success.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Thanks for sharing. It helps us all to hear others journeys.

Maria Zannini said...

You said it! This was a great lesson. I never thought of it that way either.

An excellent observation.

Linda Swift said...

How true. Finding one's own true voice is sometimes a long, hard journey but well worth the struggle. Linda

Jean P said...

Very true, what you said in your post and what other posters have said, you have to be true to yourself and your own voice. Thanks for sharing.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Kasey said...

OMG, I had the same experience. About two years I decided to listen to my inner voice and I have regretted a moment since. When all is said and done, you just have to do what makes you happy cause it’s your life. Thanks for sharing this story!

Chicks of Characterization said...

Truer words have never been spoken. If you don't love what you write, it will show! Your story sounds intriquing!!

Thanks for sharing!