Sunday, July 13, 2008

Do You Ever?

Do you ever get sick of your voice? I mean, your writing voice. I looked at a comment I made the other day, and the ridiculous thought popped in my head: "Ohmigosh, that's sounds like me. Ick."

Sometimes I hate my writing voice. I'm going to say this wrong, but my writing voice strikes me a bit stronger than I really am. (If you're all shaking your head and saying, no, your voice isn't at all strong, that's okay. Just keep it to yourself, LOL.)  :-P

And it's not so much that, as sometimes I just get sick of my voice, day in, day out. Maybe that's why Nora Roberts' voice changed SO much over the course of her career. She's a completely different writer now.

It's great writing. Except sometimes I sit down and I want the old Nora, and I expect it from the new Nora, and it doesn't live up to my expectations. I think I need to pull out some of the old Noras and read them, and view the new Nora as a different writer entirely.

Do you ever make fun of yourself? Like this week, I've been writing in 20 point font so I can see what I'm writing and see my typos. Then when I converted it back 12 point font to send it in, I noticed all my paragraphs were really short.

Really short.

I was like, WTF? I write my paragraphs by SHAPE, thus if I enlarge font paragraphs must get shorter? How idiotic is that?

Do you ever feel your sentences are the same? Like, sure, I vary my sentences. I don't just do noun-verb, although lately I have way more noun-verbs than I'm comfortable. (I saw four in a row yesterday! I never do that!) I start with prepositional whatevers and vary structure.

But I feel limited. It starts to feel like I'm taking three or four basic sentence rhythms and just cycling them.

Do you ever get sick of your themes? I was thinking the other day that all my stories are the same. Okay, they're completely different. But they're also the same.

In Schenkerian Analysis of western music, Schenker proposed, simplistically put, that all music could be boiled down, no matter how long, to Tonic-Dominant-Tonic. (So imagine a twenty-minute piece of thousands of chords boiled down, in essence, to three chords.)

I know my stuff is different. I'm pretty sure. But the essence feels the same. I'm starting to feel like I've written it all before.

Do you ever cycle out of coming up with story ideas?  I remember I had two files just BULGING, between both of them, with over two hundred ideas. Sometimes they were just titles, sometimes a sentence, but they were two hundred different novellas and/or short stories. I came up with them all the first year of writing, and then they trickled down to now and then.

At some point, I just stopped coming up with ideas. I got out of the habit. I would just choose one.

Well, see above: sometimes the interesting part isn't so much what you write about, but how you develop it.

Sometimes, I enjoy taking the most boring idea on earth and trying to make it an interesting story. Same with cliches, or overdone ideas. I don't know if I succeed, but I enjoy it.

So I stopped coming up with ideas.

I've been coming up with ideas again, though. I like it.

Do you ever fear you're getting worse, rather than better? We push ourselves to change, but do you ever worry you've gone over the edge? Do you ever worry you've suddenly lost it? Do you ever worry that this is going to be the one where people will go: what was she thinking? What happened to her? She can't write anymore!

So what about you? Do you ever... ? And how's the writing going?

(It's not obvious I'm in the middle, is it? I mean, you wouldn't know that just from the above post, would you?)

26 bonus scribbles:

Eric Mayer,  7/13/2008 07:16:00 PM  

Well, yeah, I can say I've felt pretty much all of that. I don't know I have much of a "voice" though so maybe I can't get sick of what I don't have. But running our of ideas, finding I'm recycling the same ones, feeling like I'm writing worse. Or is it because I am much more aware of what I'm doing and perhaps spot things I'm doing wrong whereas before I didn't even know I was doing things wrong? Naw. I'm just getting worse. Too aware. Thinking too hard. Did you ever feel like you were thinking too hard and tripping over your own thoughts? And sentences...do I think about my sentences being the same. Well, since you brought it to my attention...Sure...probably they are very similar. Boring. But thanks for asking about all this. Thanks very damn much. I really really appreciate it. And how's your writing going? As "good" as mine is, now that you've mentioned all this? I hope. Isn't writing fun?

spyscribbler 7/13/2008 07:33:00 PM  

ROFL... Eric, I'm sorry! It's the middle! I can't help it! I always freak out in the middle. And the end. But I think I'm a genius when I'm not writing, at least.

The writing's going as well as this post, LOL. Actually, despite my frets, it's actually flowing. Trying not to look the gift horse in the mouth. Speaking of writing, better get back to it. :-)

Zoe Winters 7/13/2008 07:35:00 PM  

Sometimes I feel like I'm a complete amateur because I don't think about sentence types. I just tell the story. maybe I think about it but not in technical terms. Like I'll read a paragraph and it sounds "off" I don't diagnose it though, I just try to fix it.

And yeah, all that crap just about, I worry about.

I never get sick of my themes though. I am probably forever going to be obsessed with the same things. My fear is that others will get sick of my themes not that I will.

I think I've got a couple of different voices. One for each of my pen names. I can't really say one of them is more "me" than the other, but one of them comes from a darker place.

The writing is coming along fine. I'm getting SO close to being ready to send SMS out into the world. And my new novella is coming along well. And I think I've got an idea for the next novel under the other pen name. So squee.

spyscribbler 7/13/2008 08:02:00 PM  

Zoe, everyone does things at different times. I write rhythm first, probably. The story's already there. But sometimes rhythm can be off, just be off for no reason. Ooh, that's a post for tomorrow.

Good luck on SMS! That's awesome!

Robin 7/13/2008 08:56:00 PM  

well...hrmphh...I was all proud of my damn self because "I got to the end..." (j. evanovichs' idea...forget research, yada,just get to the end...) Well, I did, put a very dignified period at the end of the sentence and then commenced the happy dance and scared my dog.

Now...re write...it's gone a whole 'nother direction, I'm excited but what the hell?! I'm in the damn middle again, and it's different? (original idea is ok...just arriving at the conclusion differently!")

HELP!!!! martini...dirty...5 minutes ago...hello? (is this thing on?)

Aimless Writer 7/13/2008 09:38:00 PM  

I write in different genres so I think I'm a bit different in each of them. Sometimes I just can't get into the right head for a particular story so I move to the next one.
I think we all grow as we write. We'd have to or we'd be writing the same stuff over and over! lol

StarvingWriteNow 7/14/2008 06:48:00 AM  

Well, I wouldn't have known you were in the middle. I would have suspected you were having a directional crisis--kinda sounds like you are taking stock and changing as a writer.

PS: You have a lovely voice. Stop worrying about it.

spyscribbler 7/14/2008 08:10:00 AM  

Love the dignified period, Robin! And the happy dance! I kind of rewrite as I go, so it's one fell swoop. So all angsting happens at once.

I'm totally up for martinis! :-)

spyscribbler 7/14/2008 08:11:00 AM  

Aimless, I think that's what irritated me so much. I write different for different genres, but then I saw my same voice in a different genre and it annoyed me, LOL.

I'll take your word that we grow. I always fear I'm not!

spyscribbler 7/14/2008 08:13:00 AM  

Writenow, thanks! I don't know what's up, really. I'm trying not to think about that stuff, just trying to write. What comes out is what comes out. I'm trying not to force anything. :-)

Bernita 7/14/2008 08:30:00 AM  

Oh dear.
I worry about ALL those things.
And what if you develope a strong "voice" -- and it irritates the piss out of everyone...

spyscribbler 7/14/2008 09:02:00 AM  

Bernita, I worry about that CONSTANTLY! Sheesh, I worry about everything.

Caryn 7/14/2008 10:39:00 AM  

I'm glad you wrote that, because I feel a lot of those things frequently. In fact, I was feeling the voice/idea/sentence structure things just yesterday when I was revising -- all three of them throughout the day! As for voice, it's so much a part of us that it can feel like we're not varying it because we hear it in our own heads all the time. But the thing is, a) there's only so much you can vary voice because it's still you and b) your voice *will* change depending on your characters and your own life experience. It just doesn't seem like it because it seems to happen so slowly. As for story ideas? I now have more than ever. Seems like the more I write, the more story ideas I come up with. Hey! If I give you one of my story ideas, will you write it and we'll split the profits in half??? (Don't you just love that so many authors say that people ask them such a ridiculous thing? ;-) )

colbymarshall 7/14/2008 10:51:00 AM  

Sometimes I feel like I'm sliding back and getting worse, but when that happens, it usually means it's time for me to take a couple days off and come back to it after I've breathed for a little while. Usually, when I come back to it, it's not as bad as I thought it was.

Edie 7/14/2008 11:04:00 AM  

Spy, I love your blogging voice, so if that's what you use in your books, I'm sure I'd love that too. No, I don't get sick of my voice. One of my favorite things is to put more voice in. And I know my last few books have gotten better.

I wish I could be as positive about my wip. It's the hardest book I've written. But I got some insights that I'm eager to explore. I'll have to heavily revise the book's first half that I already wrote, but if it makes the book better I'm happy to do it.

Dube 7/14/2008 11:52:00 AM  

Sometimes I just downright despise my writing. It poses a bit of a problem to my current career. :-P

Melanie Avila 7/14/2008 12:18:00 PM  

Gack, it's like you're in my head. Lately my sentence structure is making me cringe, and not just in my wip. Yesterday I commented on a blog (could've been this one) and three sentences in a row were statement, but statement. Can we get a prepositional phrase over here?

Jeez.

Robin 7/14/2008 12:38:00 PM  

I actually like my writing voice better than my actual personality. However, everyone I know says that my writing sounds exactly like me, so maybe I should give myself a hug. There. I just did. It was odd.
Spy, I love your blogging voice, so I'm sure your writing voice or voices are just as wonderful.

spyscribbler 7/14/2008 06:36:00 PM  

Caryn, you're right about it happening slowly. One day you turn around and you "suddenly" notice, but it's a gradual thing. It's kind of weird.

LOL, let me tell you, sometimes I'd totally dig that. I'm not a person who cares what idea I write, I don't know why. I just like digging into the characters.

spyscribbler 7/14/2008 06:37:00 PM  

Colby, you're so right! Some days I feel like I'm writing crap, but when I go back to it, it's really not as bad as I thought. Weird.

spyscribbler 7/14/2008 06:39:00 PM  

Edie, I think I'm stiffer in my blog. I'm stiffer in non-fiction, although I think I'm loosening up. In the Lula essay in Perfectly Plum, I bet you'd totally be able to tell I was just finding my non-fic voice. It may have been fixed in the editing, but I'm afraid to look.

So COOL about the hardest book you've ever written. I kinda like that feeling. And hate it. But it feels good to push yourself, you know? I bet it's going to be awesome, Edie!

spyscribbler 7/14/2008 06:40:00 PM  

LOL, Dube. It seems like you keep quite busy, so I bet it's nowhere near as bad as you fear. But I get that: sometimes despising one's voice. It's a weird feeling.

spyscribbler 7/14/2008 06:41:00 PM  

Melanie, that's exactly what sparked this blog! I kept making statement, statement, statement! And then I wondered why I felt it read okay. It usually doesn't, so what's wrong with me???

spyscribbler 7/14/2008 06:43:00 PM  

Robin, wait, are there two different Robins? I just checked. Oopsy-daisy. I LOVE your writing voice. The excerpt I read was AWESOME. And hilarious! You have a great writing voice!

Dube 7/15/2008 11:19:00 AM  

Haha! Thanks SpyScribbler. I just got good news about a script I entered in a contest, and quite literally the day before, I reread it and hated it so much that I almost deleted it!

spyscribbler 7/15/2008 08:11:00 PM  

Dube, that's AWESOME! See, that just goes to show!