How I found my voice by watching “The Voice” [Repost]

amypfaff~ By Amy Pfaff

I’m addicted to The Voice and it’s not just because Adam Levine is hot. Well, I started watching because he’s hot. I continue to watch because there is constructive criticism and I can watch real talent develop.

But I didn’t connect it to voice until one my local RWA chapter mates mentioned it. Voice is the difference between singing the song like the original artist and putting your own spin on it.

Here’s what Jennifer L. Hart stated at our local chapter meeting:




Talk about an ‘aha’ moment.

In the television show, those who moved forward in the competition took a song written by someone else and made it their own. The most talented and unique voice became The Voice.

Isn’t this what we hear from agents and editors? A unique voice?

As we learn our craft, we mimic what we love in other writers. We can’t help it. It is part of the mastering of any craft to imitate. Artists learn to paint by copying the masters.  We learn to write by using the devices we see in the books we treasure.

As we gain confidence in the craft, we rely less on the voice of others and find our own. It is a natural progression, so natural that you might miss it if you aren’t paying attention.

Until last year, I was writing Regency historical romances. Talk about a tough audience. The rules of engagement, social mores, and language are tricky to remember. And there is no fooling those readers. They know the time period better than me, the writer. I spent six years and four manuscripts wanting to make sure I didn’t break the rules.

My writing was flat. It was painful to complete the manuscripts. I was scared of critiques.

Then a character named Alice popped into my brain. Her story needed to be told, but she wasn’t a regency character. She was an f-bomb flying southern girl who was trying to make it in New York.

How freeing it was to write a contemporary. No rules, at least not the ones I was used to. I wrote with abandon. I loved writing that story. It was freeing. It showed me my voice: snarky, humorous, and offbeat. I didn’t know I could do humor.

I’m back editing the historical, comfortable for the first time in my own voice. There’s a bit of Regency snark. There’s a mouthy young woman. There are made-up curse words.  Even I’m not brave enough to break that rule! But I’m enjoying the process again.

I’ve found my voice. Or rather it found me. And I learned I just need to let go and write. Deal with the other stuff later.  If I give my characters their voice, smart-mouth, slapstick humor ,and all, then my voice shines through.

Amy Pfaff writes Regency historical and contemporary romance set in small towns or villages as it was. Still pre-published, she’s focusing on her craft and hoping for The Call. She reached PRO status in 2011 when her husband dared her to submit her current manuscript to go to Nationals. She did, got rejected, and earned her PRO status. When she’s not writing, she’s working with data by day and coming home to her own romantic hero of 33 years and her greyhound, Honey.

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