This morning I'm pleased to welcome Susan Lute, author of the women's fiction title The London Affair.
Susan is one of the trio of women authors behind See Jane Publish. I met Susan when she interviewed me for See Jane Publish.
Now, let's sit down with a cup of coffee and see what kind of advice Susan has for writers.
Finding Your Voice
When Joan offered me the opportunity to share writerly advice on SlingWords (thank you for that, Joan), I jumped at the chance. In my other life, I'm a nurse. Sharing and teaching is what I do. I can't help myself.
I started writing seriously for publication in 1997. Published in 2003. And spent many years in between then and now, writing, and learning, and writing, and growing as a writer, and writing. This year, with new opportunities in indie publishing, I've published two novels and just this last week, a short story prequel, A Girl Named Jane
Where's My Voice
Being an author has never been so exciting, but there was a time, not long ago, when I was ready to give up. No matter what I did, I could not find my voice. Up to that time, I'd written contemporary romance and women's fiction, but nothing was selling. I was dangerously close to throwing in the towel, with one question ringing in my ears. How could it be so hard for a writer to find her voice?
So I decided to try one last experiment. If I couldn't find the genre where my voice fit the best, I was going to turn in my keyboard for a life that didn't include fashioning words into a story.
On a flight to Norman, Oklahoma, to visit the hubby while he was at school, I picked my favorite heroine (a thief), hero (a mercenary), and my favorite place to set a scene (a bar) and set out to write the same scene in a variety of genres; historical, young adult, cozy mystery, paranormal, all but contemporary romance, since I already knew how my voice sounded in that genre.
You can imagine this flight. I got settled in, pulled out the laptop and started typing, beginning with paranormal. I was so sure that wouldn't be the one; that I could quickly scratch it off the list. After all, paranormal is a special breed, that only the best and brightest could be successful at writing. I couldn't have been more wrong. I wrote and wrote and wrote all weekend (around visiting with the hubby, of course), and couldn't stop.
When I got back, I sent a sample of my latest contemporary writing, and the paranormal scene to my writing buddies with instructions to pick the one that spoke most to them. Every single one picked the paranormal. I never did write in the other genres, and The Dragon's Thief is now complete, and slated for publication in December. Four more books will be indie published next year.
All of this is my long winded way of saying...don't give up. If you're having trouble deciding which genre to write in, or the writing has dried up, try this experiment.
Pick your favorite heroine, your favorite hero, and your favorite place to set a scene. Even if you haven't written any of these, because you think, maybe the market isn't there for them, or you don't have the chops to do them justice. Do it anyway.
Write them in four or five different genres. See what flows easily from your keyboard. And then, don't forget, with the explosion of the indie market, new opportunities abound for authors. Hang in there.
Do. Not. Give. Up.
To Susan's final words, I'll add: Ever. Do not give up ever if you truly want something whether it's writing a book, playing the cello, raising beautiful roses, or getting a college degree. Anything important takes struggle. Learn to value the struggle.