Keeping Your Voice

I thought this was my book?  In fact I was nearly positive it was my book.  But what happens when you get so much criticism that your book starts sounding a lot like “their” book.  Constructive criticism is one thing.  I have been through that rant before.  Helping me figure out the slow points, seeing what makes little to no sense, and even pointing out my comma splices are all helpful, but don’t rewrite my story in your words.

There’s a good question.  If critique-person A starts to rewrite your story does that mean that your book is bad, your voice is lacking, or are they’re just too picky?  Well of course I want to assume they are too picky, but is that the correct assumption?

Through all the suggestions, and classes, and rules how does one not lose their own voice?  If I can’t write the book in my voice what was the point in writing?

So how do we know if our voice is the problem instead of the help?  I have no idea.  I think if I can pick up my book two weeks later and say, “wow I actually really liked that”  I must be close to being on the right track.  Because in the end you are your own worst critic.

Have you run into this doubt?  Trying to know if you voice is the problem or if maybe your trusted companion is?  At some point maybe we realize the story plot just isn’t working but hopefully at least your voice does.


6 thoughts on “Keeping Your Voice

  1. juliesanocki says:

    This can be hard. Sometimes I don’t know if the criticism is just because they have a different style. If I’m writing a middle-grade story, then someone who writes supernatural thrillers probably isn’t going to be as helpful as someone who writes similar stuff. At the same time, they just might have a point, so it’s hard to ignore it. I want EVERYONE to think my stuff is the BEST EVER. Don’t we all?

    • M. Ziegler says:

      Don’t we all want our writing to be worshiped. It would be awesome to be the next big writer out there. I happen to agree that it sometimes is because of different styles. I also notice when I read work that maybe is weak in voice it’s hard not to interject your own words.

  2. Kelly Hashway says:

    It’s tough when your CP makes your work sound like theirs. You have to figure out what advice is helpful and what you don’t need to take. You are the one writing the story, so it should be your voice. But comments on plot, etc. are all up for grabs.

    • M. Ziegler says:

      Agreed on plot, and other suggestions! Sometimes the word suggestions that come out of these not-so-useful critiques can help too, but what a way to make you feel like giving up. 🙂

  3. Marja McGraw says:

    I had someone basically rewrite a book until it sounded like she wrote it. I said thank you and moved on to someone who didn’t want it to sound like her own. If someone wants to tell me a sentence is confusing (or whatever the problem is) I’ll rewrite it. It’s up to me (or you) to write it in your voice. The experience was very frustrating. I’m sorry you’ve been through this.

    • M. Ziegler says:

      I’m sorry anyone has. It can kill your motivation to write. It’s so easy to walk away and tell yourself the person has no idea but in the end we all ask
      “but what if they do.”

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