Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tip O'Day #326 - Know Your Voice

Guest blogger Helen Hanson asks, “Who writes like me?”

I slow danced with an agent for almost a year before I indie-pubbed my first novel, 3 Lies. Pitching a book to an agent requires a thoughtful analysis of the book’s marketability. Better still, he wanted a comparison between my writing and that of someone famous. Yikes! Not even out of the nest and I have to fly with the raptors. I write thrillers so these rare birds never form flocks.

John le Carré? I’ve read nearly all of his books, but he’s a strict spy master. I’m not.

John Grisham? His earlier works held some humor which I employ. But all his books involve a court case. Only one of mine does so far.

Tom Clancy? I want to know the type of weapon the assassin fired. I don’t want to know how to field strip the rifle. Pssst. Don’t tell anyone. I prefer the movies made from his novels.

Ultimately, the tenor of my prose isn’t suggestive of anyone famous. It’s my pain, failure, and triumph permeating the pages of my novels. Each of us writes from air space that no bird can share. People I’ve loved, cultures I’ve enjoyed, strangers I’ve engaged–these are the moments which color the ink from my pen. My favorite authors undoubtedly left traces of their DNA in my consciousness, but the words coming out are strictly my own. And I’m good with that. Even if I never soar with the eagles.

It’s my voice. Loud. Deep. Routinely off-key. But uniquely mine by which to die or fly.

Lean more about Helen at her website or check out her novel 3 Lies here.