Two pieces of advice.
One) A writer should write what they want to read. I mean, if you don’t want to read it, why should anyone else?
Two) A writer must develop their own ‘voice’ – whatever that means. It’s not something you can teach. How can I tell you what your voice will be when it hasn’t developed yet? It’s something someone else points out to you when you’ve written enough for it to magically appear.
Recently, my first published book, The Other Christmas Carol, became an audio book.
In addition to stage productions, a theatre company, Circle of Spears, create audio books. They wanted to do my Christmas story, The Other Christmas Carol, so it was up to me to pop over to their website, listen to their sound clips (one of which included a piece from another novel of mine) and audition.
I picked Tracey Norman, rightly thinking that her voice most matched that of the protagonist Carol. She’s done an absolutely brilliant job.
However, her voice is not that of the voices in my head (the characters I mean) and isn’t ‘my voice’. Does that make any difference? Well, yes, but only that it’s ‘different’.
I proofread it. (I use the word read, because I know from my days doing The Drabble Project to raise money for ‘Books for the Blind’ that blind people use that word for when they listen to a book.) It’s been a long time since I read it from the page or screen, and so I’d forgotten a lot of it.
I recently came across research that people enjoy a story more if the ending’s been given away. Knowing the destination means they can savour the scenery. Apparently. Personally, I have a horror of spoilers, finding them out and giving them away. Surprise is a vital weapon in a writer’s arsenal.
So, I was walking around the block listening to my words, having some surprises, but with it coming back to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was moved, genuinely moved, happy, thrilled and upset in all the right places, feeling all those emotions I’d cunningly panned to manipulate all that time ago. You can be too: https://www.circleofspears.com/
And obviously, being English, I now feel deeply embarrassed.