Writers! Vow in 2016 to make your voice heard

Maureen here, on the first day of winter.

It’s hard to believe 2015 is coming to an end. I still can’t get used to years that begin with 20.

Where’s my jet pack? Why aren’t we all living in condos on the moon? Why are we still comfortable with the same old stereotypes and predictable stories? Whoops. Sorry. I know that’s not nearly as fun as all that space-age stuff.

Seriously, though. I’ve read two books recently — nothing writing by our Maine Crime Writers of course! — that were written in the past couple of years that were very popular but I found stale and predictable. I can feel my frustration rise as I know exactly what this character is going to say. Or what the entire page of dialogue is going to be. Can predict with certainty what the “twist” is. Know without a doubt what arc that relationship is going to take.

Life is short and we’re all busy, and I found myself resenting those books for swallowing up my time.

Sure, they were popular and readers liked them. But you know what? Readers also like books that aren’t stale and predictable. They just need to be given them.

Are you writing in 2016? Here’s  your challenge — find something to say and say it in a new way.

I’m not going to say fly your jet pack to your condo on the moon, because those are my 1970s notion of what the way-off-in-the-future year 2016 would be like. No, instead, find a way to portray that unique, fascinating world you have in your head and populate it with real people who don’t conform to expected stereotypes.

Really, why write otherwise? Just to say what everyone else is saying? You don’t want to do that.

If you’re struggling to have your manuscript looked at, ask yourself if you’re really digging down deep and finding a true voice to write with.

Writing in 2016? Don’t assume you’ve found your voice. Make sure you’ve found it. Once it’s found, it will be heard.

My vow for 2016 is to not waste another minute reading books that feel familiar — in a bad way.

And my second vow is to make sure I’m writing the kind of book I want to read.

Want to join me?

Maureen Milliken is the author of Cold Hard News, the debut novel in the Bernie O’Dea series. Follow her on twitter at @mmilliken47. Like her Facebook page, Maureen Milliken mysteries.

This entry was posted in Maureen's Posts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Writers! Vow in 2016 to make your voice heard

  1. Thanks you, Maureen! I had the exact experience last summer with a new best-seller and didn’t even finish it because I predicted the ending! (OK, I did skip ahead, and I was right!) So you’ve offered a challenge which I for one will be happy to accept with my writing in the coming year. I’m revising a book right now… and will be throwing in a few twists that will (hopefully) be unexpected!

    Hope you and yours are having a great holiday season! -KJC

    Like

  2. Thank you, Maureen! I had the exact experience last summer with a new best-seller and didn’t even finish it because I predicted the ending! (OK, I did skip ahead, and I was right!) So you’ve offered a challenge which I for one will be happy to accept with my writing in the coming year. I’m revising a book right now… and will be throwing in a few twists that will (hopefully) be unexpected!

    Hope you and yours are having a great holiday season! -KJC

    Like

  3. Sorry for the double response! As always, I had to fix one of those pesky typos and hoped the first one wouldn’t send! That’s another New Year’s Resolution: proof before sending!!! 🙂

    Like

  4. MCWriTers says:

    Great advice, Maureen. For me, it’s either going to be a year of shake up and change and chance taking or I’m hanging up my pen. We forget, sometimes, in the flurry of promotion and deadlines and blogging and Facebooking and Tweeting that we got into this because we’re compelled to create–and that that compulsion to create means exploring new routes and challenging ourselves. Otherwise, it becomes just what you discovered–stale and predictable. As writers have often noted, we may need to surprise ourselves before we can surprise a reader.

    Kate

    Like

  5. Gram says:

    I’m looking forward to reading all the new and unusual books by the Maine Crime Writers. At my age if a book doesn’t interest me in one chapter I don’t read it there are too many books on my t-b-r list and time is getting shorter.
    Please come back next year for a review of how each of you did in 2016.

    Like

  6. MCWriTers says:

    Great idea, Gram! In these days of frustrating deadlines and frustrating publishers and agents, writers tend to grouse. Usually to each other, but sometimes to the world. It
    might be interesting to do a group post in January some time about what POSITIVE things happened to the Maine Crime Writers in 2015. Books published, contracts gained, awards … a lot of great stuff happened in 2015 that we don’t celebrate enough. And then– on to whatever 2016 brings! Happy holidays, everyone! Thanks for listening in 2015. Lea

    Like

  7. John Clark says:

    Chopping away on my current project as I check the blog. New brain ordered via Amazon Prime. It will be interesting to see how well it works in 2016. Thanks for the kick.

    Like

  8. David Edgar Cournoyer says:

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post. I still love the familiar voice of my favorite authors and enjoy following their series characters, especially when those authors take their characters and me on journeys to new places and challenges.
    Concerning my own writing, maybe I shouldn’t delete the genius African Gray parrot who has memorized the entire US Tax code from my novel about a future tax revolution. I thought the parrot was a bit over the top weird, but maybe not.

    Like

  9. Barb Ross says:

    Love the challenge. To unexpected plot lines and unique characters in the New Year!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s