Have I Grown?

When I was revising Hot Shot this past week, I realized I'd been writing this book since 2000. It started out with the heroine, Peyton, as an aide for a politician who'd gone to assess the fire damage, but I couldn't figure out how to keep them together, so I changed it. And changed it. And changed it. And changed it. It's grown from 60,000 words to 90,000. Gabe has stayed the same, though.

One thing I noticed, as I was combing through the old versions (I throw none of my writing away - it all lives in files on my computer), was that I had kept a lot of the original scenes. The ex-wife was always there, the best friend. And the even more interesting thing was, the scenes had hardly changed.

Okay, I've written a LOT since 2000. Hot Shot, then Devil in Disguise, Where There's Smoke, Heart of a Knight, Second Chances, Worth Bargaining For, Eden's Warrior (my one shot at Bombshell - don't you love that title?), Vanished, Surface, and now DLB. How scary is it that I can go to a book that I wrote in 2001, or whatever, and my style hasn't changed? Have I not grown? Have I learned nothing in nine manuscripts? It's kind of disheartening. I mean, Hot Shot isn't my first book. There are....lessee....at least 9 before that (OMG). Maybe if I went back to those first books, I'd see growth. But I don't, at least stylewise, from the first Hot Shot to the latest. Plotwise, yeah. But not in my voice.

Should that change, develop over time? Has yours?

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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mar, maybe things aren't changing as fast as they used to because you've learned a great deal and you've applied it? You're an experienced author, Mar. 2 time GH nominee. Yes, we can always keep evolving, but you may not see as much change as you used to in your manuscripts because you have already changed and evolved so much.

JoAnn

Gina Black said...

Your voice is you. It's a result of your cultural and ethnic background and the influences around you when you were growing up. It includes your personal tastes and sense of the world. Why should it change once you are able to use it fully in your writing? Sure, there would be style issues between books. But no. I don't think the voice would change once you are a fluent writer.

Michele said...

Writing is a learning experience but it's one that can't be measured by numbers or any other conventional method. I bet if you look at each one of your books again you'll see how unique they all are.

Trish Milburn said...

You've gotten some good comments already. They're right -- your voice is your voice. It's like your personality. It doesn't really change. Now craft and depth of stories, etc., that stuff grows as you grow as a writer. Voice, I think, is innate.

Kelly Parra said...

If your voice hasn't changed, I think that's a good thing. As long as your craft is improving that's what counts.

I hope craft is what I've been improving on through the years. =)

Anonymous said...

Mar...your voice is what makes your ms truly YOURS. That isn't something that would change, but...can voice deepen as a writer gains confidence? What do you think, girls?

J

Nikki said...

I agree with the rest -- your voice is about you and the fact that it hasn't changed might be a good thing.

However...

I was listening to Jo Beverley do a reading last night and she said she loves it when she writes for "fun". Not for a deadline or any real purpose, but just for fun... maybe it would be good for us to write for fun sometimes and break out of our romance routines ...

Just a thought...

MaryF said...

Huh. Interesting. I just think it's strange that the scenes are there, verbatim, from the first draft to the last. Did I see it that clearly in my head?

Another thing I noticed: I would think of something to add to a scene, like my heroine seeing my hero in a new light. So I'd run to the computer to put it in, only to see I'd already added that in an earlier draft, again verbatim. Weird.

Silma said...

Perhaps you had an innate notion about writing a story all along and that's why you feel like your style hasn't changed. You were born a storyteller. *g*

In my case, I might learn to do the hero/heroine POV chapter thingy, but in terms of style, I don't think I've changed either. I have a certain perception of my characters that has always been there with me. Does that make sense? If it doesn't, I blame it to only 2 hours of sleep. *lol*

MaryF said...

Makes perfect sense to me, Silma! But why only 2 hours of sleep?

Goodreads

M.J. Fredrick's books on Goodreads
Breaking DaylightBreaking Daylight
ratings: 11 (avg rating 3.33)

Beneath the SurfaceBeneath the Surface
ratings: 11 (avg rating 4.00)

Hot ShotHot Shot (Samhain)
reviews: 2
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.00)

Where There's SmokeWhere There's Smoke
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.00)

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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