Here’s the thing about us writers; we all have a voice. Our own voice – a unique voice. We each have a way to group words into something someone else (hopefully) wants to read. There are lots of voices out there. Yours might be a long, flowing poetic voice, a crisp and sassy voice, an aloof voice, or a warm-as-honey draw-me-in kind of voice. Whatever yours is, it’s yours alone. Be proud of it.
So here’s my word of caution to authors out there tonight. Maintain your own voice! As you reach out to others in your community for critiques and help with queries, chapters or a synopsis during #PitchWars, be thoughtful as to how you use the feedback you are given. I came at this tonight, not because I was frustrated at someone else’s critique of my own work, but because of my own thoughts on another’s. This author’s voice is light, airy and crisp. It’s a little punchy and not afraid to take a risk. I loved it. And while I did have suggested edits like any good critique partner, I worried they were too much, too out of character for this author’s work.
That’s when I wrote this person and shared with them what happened to me when I took someone else’s suggestions too far. In writing and critiquing my original query, I joined an author’s group whose many commentaries and suggestions eventually watered my query down to a semblance of my original voice. In the end, this query was perfect. And completely boring. Yes, it touched on the set up and the plot and the stakes. Someone may have even found the idea intriguing, but I’m guessing they passed over the query wishing the voice had been stronger (or even there at all.)
So, if you do agree with the nature of the changes that are given to you (and you certainly don’t have to), make sure you find a way to put them into your own voice. No one wants a watered down version of something that should scream, YOU! It’s your voice that will sell your story, not someone else’s you might respect.