Monday, August 15, 2011

How loud is your "author voice"?

I have been told that as authors, we have a certain responsibility to our readers; that once we put ourselves out there as "something" we gain a following of "something lovers" and can never change "something" into "something else" because we may lose our "something lover" followers. Do you get what I mean?

Okay...take this for an example.

I'm an author coming out for the first time doing sci-fi. If I continue to do sci-fi, I'm going to attract followers that are mostly sci-fi lovers. Now lets say I want to take a break from sci-fi and start writing about the paranormal. According to most people, that may be a career killer because my sci-fi followers will disappear because I no longer write about something they love to read about. Now do you get it?

So, how true is that? I for one don't think this it is 100% true. I do think that making a transition from a genre that you have built your author career on, to a new genre, is tricky and should be done at the appropriate time. But when is the appropriate time? I have no clue when that is. Or...maybe it's the other way around. Maybe an author should start their writing career doing multiple genres so that way by the time the large following comes in, it'll be a bunch of "you lovers" and not "specific genre lovers". Get it?

Let that mellow for a minute, I got something else to talk about.

Okay...second responsibility that I have been told authors have is to NOT have a certain identity when writing certain genres. Confusing? I know. I was too, at first. 

In other words, as authors, we must try our best not to make it so obvious that we take a certain standpoint on Religion or Politics. In fact, those two thing (religion and politics) are big NO NO's in the entertainment world (and we are in the entertainment world) unless we are coming out as writers of politics or writers of religion. Still confusing? No? Yes?

Okay so in my understanding, if I'm writing sci-fi (which is a genre that is usually sprinkled with hidden religious views) I can't let my readers know that I'm Buddhist or Christian or Jewish. I have to have a writer voice that doesn't necessarily "pick a side". I have to appeal to everyone, and everyone isn't the same religion. The same can be said with politics. 

How true is this?

I've read books that have HEAVY religious views. Most of them are religious books, but the others are books in our genre (steampunk, sci-fi, urban fantasy, paranormal, etc...) that just so happen to have a strong "author voice" in which readers can obviously tell that the author is a Republican or Democrat or Communist or Christian or Jewish...etc. 

In my honest opinion, regardless of my personal views on politics and religion, I try to vary and have a small author voice in certain books where I feel it's necessary. In the DOME for instance, I speak about God here and there, but I don't think my religious views are obvious when I do. And to stray a little off of the topic of politics and religion, one of my main characters is someone I can't stand. I don't like Emma whatsoever as a person but many of my readers tend to love her the most. I don't think it's obvious when reading the DOME that I dislike her (other than the fact that she keeps getting her ass beat). What I'm trying to say is that authors can't always write about the things that they like, or else all of their books will be the same. We aren't writing for ourselves...are we? Aren't we writing for the world? And isn't the world diverse? you think we are losing our identity that way?

Anyway, what do you guys think?

Do you have an "author voice"?

How important is your "author voice" in your writing?

What does your "author voice" say?

Nova Sparks Author of the DOME (the DOME trilogy #1)

Sample or purchase the DOME (the DOME trilogy #1):

Visit my Blog:


wernstberger said...

Just tell a good story. If it comes from that special place inside you, your author voice will shine through.

Natasha Larry said...

I really like this post. I agree with Wanda, tell a great story and be genuine. Above all, be passionate. Passion always shines through.

Chaz Wood said...

I may be schizoid, in that I seem to be able to write in multiple voices, even from the point of view of characters I loathe, or who are nothing remotely like me. Perhaps I'm a bit like Woody Allen's Zelig - something of a shape-shifter, who can absorb and express the thoughts and feelings of others.

Whether I do this well or not is another matter entirely, but I've always been at my happiest writing about characters who are not even remotely like me.

Nova Sparks said...

I think we share that, Chaz! In fact, I believe that I'm better at writing from the eyes of characters that I despise. :-)

Natasha Larry said...

I agree with you on that one, Nova. You said something about not liking Emma, but when you write from her POV your book comes alive.

I tend to be the opposite. Characters I don't particularly give a crap about tend to fall flat.