Saturday, December 28, 2013

YA Author Megan Miranda talks "VOICE" in Novels

YA Author Megan Miranda 's first 3 books have excited the publishing world and teen readers alike.

Her books Fracture and Hysteria are being published in multiple countries and gobbled up by readers around the world.  Teen and Adult readers are excitedly awaiting Vengence, the sequel to Fracture, which they've pre-ordered on Amazon and which will arrive in their mailboxes in February 2014!  And what is it that keeps these readers and the publishing industry so interested? In addition to the plot -- I think it might be her main characters' VOICE.

VOICE is such a tricky concept for many of us.  

Luckily, Megan is here in an Expert Author Interview today to share with us her thoughts and tips on how to create strong VOICE in our novels.

Welcome Megan!!

Let's jump right in!

Question 1.)  Megan, in reading Fracture (read it here) one thing that really struck me was how consistent and strong the "voice" of your main character – the teen narrator Delaney -- is throughout the book.  "Voice" is a rather scary concept for many new writers because we hear from editors that that's what they're looking for and many authors don’t feel like we know what “voice” really means, or how to make our characters and our books have a non-generic “voice.”

In your opinion what is “voice” and can you suggest some techniques that writers can use to keep the “voice” consistent throughout their books?

First of all, thank you! I know there are plenty of definitions out there of what “voice” is—ranging from style to tone to the way the narrator speaks—and I think it’s a combination of all those things. It’s you. It’s distinct. It’s the feel of the story—the sentence structure and dialogue and word choice. The way you choose to tell the story. It all goes together. But, if you write first person, there’s the added layer of the way the narrator “speaks” to the reader. It’s the way they think, and how they phrase those thoughts. It’s a product of what type of person they are, how they see the world, and how they see themselves.

So the key to “voice” for me is knowing my character/narrator inside and out, and filtering everything—the story, every description, all conversations (spoken or overheard)—through their state of mind.

One thing I sometimes do to make sure I’m keeping a distinct voice is to try writing a scene from several different characters’ perspectives. Each should sound different. Each character should see different things, and interpret and convey the scene in a distinct way, based on who they are. If the scene sounds the same from a different character, I know I don’t have their voice down yet.

That’s a great answer, Megan! I think you chiseled the definition of voice down to a much more understandable concept for us.  I love that exercise of writing the same scene from several different characters’ perspectives to make sure we really know how they think and speak and see the world.

Here’s another question:

Question 2.) In Fracture the first book in your series by the same name, you do a great job of keeping the voice of your main character, Delaney, consistent and unique to her throughout the book.  What are some things that you intentionally did in your writing of Delaney and the book to make sure that she sounded like a unique individual throughout the story, and not a cardboard cut-out?

Thank you! Like I mentioned above, I had to get to know the character before I could tell her story effectively. I think if you have a strong handle on the character, the voice stays consistent. Which is also why I don’t always nail it in the first draft J It’s not until I know the character that I can give the plot over to them and let them tell the story. 

In Fracture, I tried to tap into the emotions she felt in the opening chapters during the near-death experience that changed her significantly, and in that way, I felt like I could understand her. I also tried to remember who she was in terms of the people around her. Her place in her family, and in her circle of friends, and to remember there’s 17 years of history that’s happened off the page, between the lines. She’s a particular person. She has a particular world-view, particular fears and hopes and desires. I consciously remind myself as I write: who is this person telling the story?

I reminded myself that my reactions might not be the same as Delaney’s reactions, and her thoughts can and should differ from my own.

Delaney is a girl who almost died, who is drawn to death, and who is, I think, very uncomfortable with the concept of death. She’s never made any sort of peace with it. And so she sees it everywhere, at first.

She knows there’s something not right. And her world is filtered through this understanding. When she’s sent home—before she thinks she’s ready—she sees icicles hanging from her roof and thinks the house looks like it’s ready to consume her. The details of her room, which were once a comfort, all feel a little off. Everything is unsettling to her, at first.

She also senses that people are losing their trust in her, and slowly, I think, she loses trust in herself. I tried to hold on to these emotions while writing from her perspective. The feelings, along with knowing who she is in her world, and all her history that doesn’t make it onto the page, is something that ties me to her, that makes me able to see her as a unique person, with a unique voice, and tell the story through her.

Thanks Megan.  It's obvious that you know Delaney well and that that has made her (and her VOICE) come to life on your pages!  Note to self: Know your characters. Know your characters. Know your characters! 

(Remember, readers, if the font appears small on this blog-page, press "ctrl" and the "plus sign" together to make it the size you want :))!

 Ok, here's one final question, Megan:

Question 3.) Though we know that the holidays are upon us and our schedules are filling up with parties, family gatherings, and time spent giving our time and gifts to others, I suspect you are still also spending a lot of time writing. How do you find time to write during the busy holiday season, and what project that you are working on now are you most excited about – and why?

Ha, well, I try to deal with the things I need to do each day, and take it one day at a time. Some days are more successful than others. I prioritize. I make time to write by keeping off the internet, and I become embarrassingly horrible at both laundry and email. Some days, honestly, the writing doesn’t come first—especially this time of year. We have school parties and conferences and Holiday Stuff. But I keep “writing” high up on the priority list. I set working hours, and I stick to them as much as possible. 

I still try to write every weekday, but I don’t always write for as much time as I usually do. But I find that as long as I open the document and actively write something, I stay connected to the story.

As for what I’m writing, I recently turned in a draft to my 2015 book, currently called Afterlife (about a reality in which we can screen our souls, much like a DNA fingerprint, and know who our souls had once belonged to—and a girl, kept on an island for her own protection, who chooses to escape). I’m also working on something new (new in the way that I’m scared to jinx it by talking too much about it). I’m very excited about both, though they’re at completely different stages right now.

Thanks so much for having me!

Thanks for being here and sharing your tips, Megan!  

It sounds like you've been very busy, and we're excited to read those new books when they come out! You have me hooked with "a girl kept on an island for her own protection, who chooses to escape!"  What a great premise!

Thanks too for the tip about not spending too much time on email and the internet -- constant sources of distraction for many of us!

This has been a wonderful interview, with great, implementable tips on VOICE to help us end 2013 with a bang!  Now it's off to finish our novels, friends!

Thanks Megan for a great interview!  And to the readers, I leave you with this great blurb from Amazon about Megan's book Vengence (sequel to Fracture) coming out in February 2014!

Nobody really believes in a curse. Until you know the people who disappear. Too much coincidence, you look for reason. Too much death, you grasp for something to blame. Carson pulled Delaney out and he died on the side of the road with her mouth pressed to his. Her air in his body. Troy. She told the cops it was suicide. Didn't matter. The lake released her and grabbed another. But when Decker's father dies in a pool of spilled water on their kitchen floor, all Decker can feel is a slow burning rage. Because he knows that Delaney knew that his dad was going to die. She knew and backed out of his house and never said a word. Falcon Lake still has a hold on them both, and Decker can't forgive Delaney until he knows why.

Friday, December 27, 2013

An Important Update from Writermorphosis!

Dear Writermorphosis Readers,


First of all, thank you to the readers from Moldova and Bahrain, two new countries reading Writermorphosis as of this week. WELCOME!

This week you joined readers from the U.S., Canada, Russia, China, The U.K, and Germany in reading this blog.  So thanks to all those of you who show up here each Saturday to check out the weekly post.  I see you there in the stats, and I'm so glad to have you coming by!


Today Writermorphosis has news:

After more than 2 years of

1.)  Fabulous YA and children's authors sharing their tips on the craft with us here on the blog via   the "Each One Teach One" interviews

2.) Updates on Contests & Opportunities for Writers and Illustrators


3.)   Info on which agents and Publishers might be seeking your type of book...

Writermorphosis is going on a 6 month Haitus.

1.) It's not because I don't love you. :) 

2.) It's not because there aren't more well-published, fabulous children's and YA authors still willing to give their wonderful tips on this blog. (Thanks guys!) 

3.) It's simply because I (Janelle) need time to finish up some work on my own books, and with posts and interviews it's hard to keep up.
So, beginning January 1st we'll be taking "a break from interviews and posts" until July 2014. 

BUT don't worry!  The final post which will go up the first week in January (2014), will show you how to easily find the great author tips shared here over the past two years -- they're linked by category. So if you're looking for help on Plot, Character, Setting, Voice, Picture Books, Historical Novels, Research, or any number of other hot writing topics, you will still find tips from Best Selling Children's and YA authors here to help you -- even over the next 6 months.

PLEASE FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER (JanelleYALit) to keep tabs on when the blog posts will begin again in 2014 and to hear any special Writermorphosis announcements!

Don't take a break from your weekly Saturday visits here just yet!  Our final interview of this season will send us off with a BANG tomorrow!

We'll have a great interview with tips on VOICE from fabulous YA paranormal author, the great Megan Miranda (author of Fracture)!

Don't miss it!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Story Writing Contest at "Midlife Collage"

Feeling inspired to write a short story this holiday season?

Wanting to get published online and make a little extra winter cash?

This is a Writing Contest Alert!

Consider submitting your story to the

Midlife Collage Weekly contest!  (click here)

They're seeking Holiday Themed Stories --- CHRISTMAS STORIES ....NEW YEARS STORIES...

This is a weekly contest year round and each week the winning writer wins $50.00

So if you're 40 y.o. or older put your elf caps on and enter your holiday stories in the MIDLIFE COLLAGE contest this month!

May the best elf win!

Need Tips on How to Write that Short Story?

Here Fiction Author John Dufresne gives tips in just 2 1/2 minutes!
Thanks John!