The thing about being a writer is that it’s rather like growing up. When you start out, you can see the things that will influence what kind of a writer you will turn out to be – what you like to read, the experiences you’ve had, what you believe to be true or important – in the same way that you could look at a child’s genetic inheritance and environment and get an idea of the adult they might become. But there’s no way of knowing for sure how these influences will meld in your mind and through your efforts to become your voice.
What I have discovered over the past few years of writing fiction is that my voice is mostly quiet. I think this is to do with wanting to be believed. When one of my teen beta-readers flagged a bunch of places in the book she was reading for me as ‘relatable protagonist moments’, I knew for sure that that was exactly what I was looking for.
But. But. But.
I’m not sure that it’s enough. I can write. I can write things that please most people who read them, things a lot of teenagers relate to. But I’m not producing anything yet that’s grabbing hold of MORE readers. I’m not grabbing agents or publishers.
I think I know what I need.
I need to ramp it up. I need to be louder, more surprising (but inevitable). I need to throw my characters off cliffs, bring them to the brink of despair, have them struggle out of locked cars underwater, have their legs chopped off by superfans…
So that is my resolution: more drama. I’m not at all sure how to put this into practice. I’ve got three (or maybe four) books on the go and I can see fairly clearly how to ramp up the drama in two of them. Not so sure about the third, but that’s a bit of a new departure for me and is already far more dramatic than anything I’ve written previously.
I’ll keep you posted.