June 11, 2011

Featuring Marietta Taylor - Your Voice Or Mine?

Today, in a departure fro the kid-lit realm, I am happy to be hosting Marietta Taylor, who will be talking about a very important aspect of writing - maintaining your own voice.  Marietta, please tell us your story.

I am a member of a writer's critique group. For the most part I enjoy the group. However, there was one session that really rubbed me raw like a sandpaper burn. I was having some devotional work critiqued. They were written from the perspective of the Proverbs 31 woman. I thought I had a pretty cleaver idea since much had been written about her and how women could be like her, but nothing was written from her perspective.

One of the other writer's told me my work wasn't believable to her because it wasn't written in what she called a “true Jewish voice”. She proceeded to give me the name of a Christian romance writer. She instructed that I should read this woman's books and the pattern my “voice” after hers. That really got under my skin. And it stayed there for a while.

I actually stopped working on this book because of her criticism. I just recently picked it back up to review and decide if I was going to continue. I may actually change some of it, but I'll tell you what I'm not going to do. I'm not going to mimic another author's voice. As a writer, I need to be authentic to myself. Voice is who I am as a writer. It is how I uniquely communicate my message to my readers. If I try to mimic someone else, it will come across as not being authentic.

While I understand that we can learn a great deal from other writers, I'm not a believer in being a copycat. I don't mind being influenced by another writer's strong voice. I just don't want to steal it and try to pass it off as my own. At the end of it all, I've got to be me. And I think that's important for every writer. Each one has their own unique voice. They attract readers based on communicating with their own voice. One of the things we as writers keep hearing is “Find your voice”. Once you do, go with it. I think it's the strongest part of your identity as a writer.

Readers can connect with me in the following ways:

Website: http://www.mariettataylor.net/

Personal Blog: http://www.marismorningromm.blogspot.com/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/raleighgirl

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/marietta.taylor2

Buy my book:




Kindle Edition:


Thanks for stopping by today, Marietta and for giving us a chance to get to know you and your book.  Best of luck to you.


kathy stemke said...

Thank you, Marietta and Kevin, for shinning a light on this topic. I agree, a writer must develop his own voice. Yes, an author should slant their voice to fit the genre and particular situation.

Best wishes,
Please join me on my book tour June 13th-July6th.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful guest post. Marietta, it was nice learning about you and your book. Best wishes with your devotional work.

Kavitha Punniyamurthi said...

Nice post. I completely agree with Marietta about the importance of finding and writing in one's own voice.

People do tend to be influenced by the writers they read and sometimes that might, unconsciously, creep into their writing. It only makes the work seem like a poor duplicate or sound contrived.

Mari said...

Thanks to Kevin for hosting me! Thank you Kathy, Susanne and Kavitha for the kinds comments.

Magdalena Ball said...

Great point Mari. Above all a writer must trust his or her own instincts and judgement - something that it takes courage and many years to develop. A good critique group is fantastic, but a writer should be free to take what helps and discard the rest. Any critique that is too didactic or black and white is not helpful.

Mari said...

Thanks Magdalena for stopping by. I'm getting better at "keeping and discarding". when i first joined I felt like I had to "keep" all the advice. Now I see

Anonymous said...

I have the setting in Boston and Southern California, so my voice has to be reflected with the particulars of each region without sounding like I'm stereotyping characters. Its a fun balance that needs to be struck. A little research goes a long way.

Kevin McNamee said...

Thanks for the comments everyone and thanks to Marietta for being such a great guest!

Karen Cioffi said...

Mari, I agree that writers need to have their own voice.

Interestingly, in the copywriting field, it's recommended to actually copy/type the content of successful copywriters as an exercise. It's suppose to gear your brain for that type of effective writing.

While critique groups are essential, it's up to the author to know which input is helpful and which isn't.

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

Dallas said...

Mari, this post struck me as SO true and it was really inspirational to hear your experiences about staying authentic to your own writing voice. Thank you so much for sharing!

ELiles said...

I think being a copycat when you first begin to write can help you learn the craft. But after a while, you need to venture out into that unknown territory and blaze a trail to your own voice.

Great post!

Donna M. McDine said...

Staying true to one's self and your own distinct writing voice is essential. Terrific post. Thanks for sharing.

Children’s Author
Write What Inspires You Blog
The Golden Pathway Story book Blog

Connie Arnold said...

Kevin, thank you for sharing this. Mari, I agree with you, your own voice is what makes you special. Good for you, realizing that and sticking with it in your writing!