I’ve always been a book worm, but since I started writing, I’ve had a renewed appreciation for authors. Whether it’s a book that I wish would never end or one that couldn’t end soon enough, I understand how much work goes into writing one. Today, author Ella Carey explains her process and why it works for her.
As I write this, spring winds zip around my house, causing everything outside to flutter. Things seem a little unsettled, somehow, and I have been a little unsettled today as to what to write about in this post…where to start, which element of writing should I share with you? What would be most useful? Story, character, theme, language, literary techniques- or how about finding your voice?
I thought that some practical steps sounded like a very good idea.
I sometimes think that writing encompasses limitless elements that have to be pulled together to form one unique strand- a work of fiction that readers will relate to, that will resonate with them, a work of fiction that we hope might cause readers to look at the world in a different way.
But novel writing is above all, beyond everything, an emotive art form, so what you are doing, what you want to achieve is for your reader to become completely immersed in your book, so immersed that they are living the story, so immersed that they become the protagonist, they are sharing the journey you have created while bringing their own unique sense of self to your book.
You want your reader to be so close to your novel, that there is nothing between them and your writing.
Once your readers are doing this- you have found your voice.
I want to make some practical suggestions here, because I honestly think that you need to find your own voice yourself, and then, as in all good stories, I want to give you a twist at the end!
First thing… study the craft. I honestly do believe that if you are an aspiring writer then this is definitely worth doing. I know that it can be a stifling idea- you don’t want to inhibit your own creativity by adopting someone else’s ideas (been down that path, believe me)- but I honestly believe that professional development is the way to go here. I try to work on the premise that every book I write has to be better than the last one. I feel like I have everything to learn, and I will keep on learning. I’d suggest this is such an important thing to do. I advocate for reading good books on writing, going to conferences and taking online writing classes. If you can go to university, then great. Research top, worldwide writing teachers- read their books, hear them speak if you can. Take what suits you from each element of study- and that way, you will find your own new voice.
Second…write. Write as much as you can. While you are studying, practice your craft. It does not matter if what you write makes you cringe, makes you want to wipe if off your computer after the first page, just write. See what you can do. If it is hard to find the free time to write, as it is for most of us, then make a pact with yourself that you deserve some free time, some time for yourself each day, or every second day, or whenever you can to write. By the way, it’s supposed to be the sign of a good writer to hate what you write- so you may as well write anyway! Avoid the negative self talk and just keep going.
Third… work out how you are going to get your work out there. I am a great believer in throwing every ball up in the air and seeing which ones come down. Develop a strategy that suits you- whether it is approaching literary agents, approaching publishers who accept unsolicited material, uploading an indie book to Amazon or entering competitions as a first tentative step- just do what suits you best. You need a business plan, and it needs to suit you and your work.
Every writer is different and the options these days are wider and more varied than ever before. Just work out which model suits you, try it and adapt. I do think that waiting until you know your work is the best you can possibly have it is a good idea before showing it on any professional platform. Once you have taken steps one and two and you are honestly ready to send your work out, and you know that there is nothing more you can do, then send your work out, not before.
And as for the twist?
When you are writing, forget everything you have learned, and just write. Because that is where you will find your voice.
Thank you for reading this post, and thank you once again to Romance University for having me here!
Everyone has a different approach on writing. What’s yours?
From A Paris Balcony [Lake Union Publishing – October 2016]
Heartbroken and alone, Boston art curator Sarah West is grieving the recent deaths of her parents and the end of her marriage. Ultrasensible by nature, she’s determined to stay the course to get her life back on track. But fate has something else in mind. While cleaning out her father’s closet, she finds a letter from the famous Parisian courtesan Marthe de Florian, dated 1895. The subject? Sarah’s great-great-aunt Louisa’s death. Legend has it Louisa committed suicide…but this letter implies there’s more to that story.
Determined to learn the truth, Sarah, against her nature, impulsively flies to Paris. There she’s drawn into the world of her flatmate, the brilliant artist Laurent Chartier. As she delves deep into the glittering Belle Époque to unravel the mystery, Sarah finds that her aunt’s story may offer her exactly what she needs to open up to love again.
Following Sarah in the present day and Louisa in the 1890s, this moving novel spans more than a century to tell the stories of two remarkable women.
Ella Carey is a writer and Francophile who claims Paris as her second home. She has been studying French since the age of five, and she has degrees in music, majoring in classical piano, and English, majoring in nineteenth century women’s fiction and in modern European history. Her debut novel, Paris Time Capsule, has captured global attention and her second novel, The House By The Lake, was released in March 2016, remaining in top 100 of all Kindle books in the US for six months. Her third novel is From a Paris Balcony and is releasing in October, 2016. She lives in Australia.
- Settings and the Romantic Novel by Ella Carey
- The Prolific Pen
- High Concept and Learning to Write the Romance Novel
- Breaking Rules
- Query Writing 101 with C.J. Redwine