Guest Blogger ~ Darlene Franklin ~ Discovering Voice

Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin recently returned to cowboy country—Oklahoma. The move was prompted by her desire to be close to her son’s family; her daughter Jolene has preceded her into glory. Darlene loves music, needlework, reading and reality TV. Talia, a Lynx point Siamese cat, proudly claims Darlene as her person. Seaside Romance and Prodigal Patriot, both historical romance set in New England, became available from Barbour this summer. Visit Darlene’s blog for information on book giveaways and upcoming titles.
One question that always stumps me is this: Who do you write like? If you’re a fan of (name the author), you’ll like Darlene Franklin.
I have been to plenty of workshops on discovering my voice, but I still don’t get it. I have never tried to imitate anyone else, although I can occasionally trace the influence of other writers on my writing. For instance, on my best days, I approximate James Lee Burke’s use of setting in his novels.
Do you wonder the same thing? Who am I, as a writer? What am I supposed to write?
Today, in 2010, I have a fair grasp of the answer. I excel at writing romantic fiction and devotionals. I have tried a little of everything over my nineteen years of writing. Aside from my devotionals, I have learned that I have a better chance of selling a novel than a magazine article!
If you’re still in the process of feeling your way as a writer, here are a few lessons I learned the hard way.
–What you want to write may not be what you were meant to write. I would love to write hard-hitting nonfiction about issues I’ve dealt with. Instead, I write romantic fiction about people with difficult problems—quite different from the ones I’ve faced myself.
–Learn from your experience. What sells—not because it’s popular so much as because you write it well?
–What gets the strongest reaction from your readers?
–What do you find the easiest to write?
–Read widely in the genre you’re most interested in, to pick up the nuances.
–Work with critique partners from your genre.
You may wish to try the following writing exercise: write the same event, such as a favorite pet or your first job, as a poem, a short story, and a nonfiction essay. Or write it as a romance, a science fiction story, and as a mystery. Set it aside. Come back to a day or a week later. What reads the best? That may be your strongest genre—or at least the right genre for that story.
Oh, that question about “who do you write like”? I was most recently compared to Susan Page Davis—my critique partner and historical writer extraordinaire.
Coastal communities of old experience a test of faith when three women face fear, jealousy, and scorn as they ride the tide of romance.
Judith Morrison lives at the lighthouse her father operates on Capernaum Island. When her friend Sam Hathaway returns, will his fears of the sea keep him from reaching her in a storm?
Becca Hanham’s first day on the job as a scullery maid in Providence ends with a marriage proposal from Nash Abercrombie, a business tycoon. Is this the answer to her dreams or a preposterous scheme?
Francesca Wallingford is being pressured to enter a marriage with Count Philippe de la Croix. When Alfred Finley returns to the Newport society that once scorned him, could her choices become any more unclear?
Can true love be found even when the obstacles seem as wide as the ocean? Will God answer their prayers to bridge the gap?