For an author to improve it is essential that they submit their work to others for constructive criticism and feedback. I have done this on many occasions. My feedback has come from family, friends, my writers group, competitions, editors and publishing houses. The main area that needs more attention to detail is ‘my voice’. I need to find it. But firstly I needed to understand what that meant exactly. Luckily enough a few blogs have been written recently on this very topic:
Emma walton Hamilton has written a great piece about ‘Voice Exercises‘. It is not an uncommon problem thankfully, as she says that:
“Children’s book authors often grapple with anthropomorphism.’
(anthropomorphism = attribute human qualities to toys, products, and machines)
She explains this by saying that authors must imagine themselves “into the character, the setting, the situation.’
So I look at the characters I have in my many manuscripts and think to myself, can I imagine what it is like to be a…
Librarian – yes, I love books and help out in my child’s school library, so I can speak from experience.
Toddler – almost, but I need to get down on my knees and see the world from their height, understand their worries and joys.
Tooth Fairy – I have failed at this with my own children (forgetting to put the coin under their pillows) but I am small and would love to be able to fly!
Limpet – this one needs more work. Similar to a barnacle, this is something I have not had any experience at being. Therefore will have to go back down the beach, sit on a rock and observe the dangers (curious children, dogs, people, tides, birds, etc) and the joys (curious children, sea view everyday, sticking around with my friends and family all day long, etc).
For another post on voice Heather Alexander is a guest on Brenda Harris’ blog called Voice Lessons: Making Your Manuscript Sing.
Well, that’s it for now, I am off to find my voice!