Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Voice Niche

Sometimes, we just have to find our place.

I have always loved actor Hugh Laurie as the character House. Everything about him fits his character; his looks, his voice, even the way he cocks his head. He just fits. When I saw him in an older movie as a different type of character, I couldn't place him. He's a good actor, but with the show House he's found the perfect niche for himself.

This is like our voices. Once we master craft and storytelling, I think there will be a genre in which our voices shine. I know of two writers who were midlist mult-pubbed authors. Then they each tried writing a thriller. They're both bestsellers now. I know of another writer who wanted to write suspense, but didn't really break out until she embraced her inner comedian.

Sometimes we need to make sure we've found the right fit for our unique writer's Voice.

What do you think about this? Are there authors who seem to write better in one genre than in another? Has anyone ever said that you write a certain genre or tone well?

25 comments:

Angela said...

I agree about House. Even when you hear him talk in his real British accent, it totally messes with my head. He's House. That's it!

Yet there are others who are more versatile, like Will Smith. He's very sucessful at his roles, be it comedy, tough guy or drama. Some can shape shift, others can't.

I'm still trying to find my fit. I've been told by editors I have a good voice for MG. But then they haven't seen my YA. I don't know which is stronger, lol. But I seem to pull people in with humor and sarcasm. :)

Janna Qualman said...

This is so true! I agree with everything you said.

Sometimes it takes a little trial and error, but I think a writer eventually finds their place. It's what we all want. And it's a great feeling when it happens.

:)

anita said...

Great post, Jessie. Well, I've tried romantic fantasy, historical romance w/paranormal elements, and now YA.

I have to say, though, that I've felt more free to just write my story and let it breathe with this YA than with anything I've ever written. Something about this book just feels like me. Does that mean I've found my "niche" there? Hmm. Maybe. But I sure would hate to give up writing romance for good, because I LOVE romance. Here's hoping I can rock at both!

Have a great day! ;-)

Terri Tiffany said...

I think that's where I'm at now. I am waffling between finding what I write best and love. Part of me thinks I need to revert back to romance--to me it is easier to write. But then I love suspense kind of books and always want a little of that in a book. SO maybe by the time of get to book #10, I'll have it figured out???lol

Erica Vetsch said...

I love writing historical romance, and at this point, I don't know that I would write anything else, but my Genesis win was in the Lit Category, so who knows?

I didn't really find my authorial voice until about manuscript five. At first I didn't realize it, but if I go back and re-read/rewrite an older manuscript, like I am now, I can sure see the difference.

Karen Lange said...

This is interesting. It is always odd to see an actor in another spot that you don't expect. I'm still trying different writing areas. Am most comfortable with non fiction right now, but moving into fiction and liking it:)
Blessings,
Karen

Georgiana said...

Yes, I definitely think genre has a lot to do with letting a voice shine. However, if I write where my voice has the best fit, I'll never be published. Can you guess the genre? Chick lit. Argh! Well, I've modified my style somewhat and tried to keep my voice. We shall see what happens....

Sarah Forgrave said...

Voice is such an elusive thing sometimes! When I first started writing, I found myself copying the voice of some of my favorite authors. The writing wasn't terrible...It just wasn't me. I'm still getting there in terms of discovering my niche, but it does seem to include embracing my inner comedienne. :-)

Katie Ganshert said...

People have told me that my writing has a literary feel to it. I go back and forth between romance (because I just love it...love reading it, watching it, and writing it!) and women's fiction. Romance always manages to sneak in.

I'm quite positive I could never write historical. I would be horrendous at it!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I love House. :)

I'm pretty sure I'm in the right genre for my voice, but who knows. Maybe I'll have to give some others a try to figure out if I do well in something other than YA.

Keli Gwyn said...

Some writers have multiple Voices, but many of us discover that ours are best suited for a particular genre. I tried my hand at a contemporary romance once and learned I don't have a Voice that lends itself to today's young characters. (Mine sounded old and dated, reflective of my 70s teen years. LOL) However, I feel right at home in the second half of the 1800s. My Voice lends itself to the dialogue of that period. Since historicals from that era are what I most like to read, it works well for me.

Nancy said...

I agree. Some of my favorite children's authors try other things and they aren't very good. They have moved out of their niche. No body has told me anything abour where I belong, so I just keep writing different types of children's books until I find a good fit.

Julie Jarnagin said...

I love House! I've written in several genres, and I think it's true that most people write one genres better than all others.

L. E. Neighbour said...

yup, very true. Which just adds to things to take into account :P

Jill Kemerer said...

Good point, Jessica. Sometimes we need to hear our strengths from other people to truly recognize them.

Nancy J. Parra said...

This is a great post. Something I've be thinking about for two years now. Let's hope I find my niche soon. lol.

Thanks for posting!

Cindy said...

I definitely think we all have our niche, the perfect genre to showcase our voice. I think that's why it helps to experiment and then have critique partners or someone experienced with writing to help us hone in on that niche.

Jessica Nelson said...

Thanks for all your insights ladies! I love hearing your opinions.

patti said...

Great article. Not sure I have ever really understood voice.

Some say I have a European voice. No clue here, either.

Blessings,
Patti

Deb Shucka said...

House is one of my favorites, too!

I know that often an author who shines as a nonfiction writer tries fiction and I'm disappointed with their work. As for myself, I know for now I'm a narrative nonfiction writer. Who knows what might follow.

Elana Johnson said...

This is the absolute truth! Sometimes we need to experiment with things to see how they go. It's like trying on clothes. You never know how something is going to fit until it's on, right?

Great comparison with House and Hugh.

Linda Glaz said...

Absolutely! I think most of us can just sense when we're in the zone. And that's where we should stay. For me, my over-protective nature with my kids always had me worrying and that provided lots of grist for suspense. Oh yeah!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

Thanks for a thoughtful post.

I started out as a non-fiction writer, and still love it. On the other hand, fiction has given me a creative freedom I'd never dreamed possible.

At some point, I will write in another genre. I'm too curious to be stuck in one place forever.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jessica Nelson said...

lol Susan! I'm curious too. Plus, I love the challenge and excitement of trying something new. :-)

LOL Linda! But I have the same "grist" and still don't get the amazingly scary ideas you do!

Elana, trying on clothes is a really good way to put it.

Jessica Nelson said...

Deb, I think you do narrative non-fiction beautifully. :-)

Patti, voice is hard to define, I think, but when someone has it, or doesn't have it, it's definitely noticeable. :-)