Finding My Voice

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I had dinner with a friend last week that I hadn’t seen in quite awhile, and he asked me about my writing. When I told him I’m working on a young adult novel, he questioned how I can think like a teenager, let alone try to write for them.

I shrugged and said I’ve finally found a benefit to never reaching a maturity level past that of a 12-year old boy.

But seriously, writing YA feels more natural to me than anything else I’ve written (besides this blog…) and to my great relief, other people seem to agree. Four people have read Flicker — two who’ve read all my novels, a fellow YA writer, and an honest-to-goodness teenager! (at least I hope she’s honest because she told me she loved Flicker and I’d hate to find out she was just being nice) — and the feedback has all been positive.

That’s not to say I don’t have things to work on. I’ve written a new opening chapter that helps set the tone a little sooner, I plan to change a detail at the end that will set up book 2, and I still have a bit of weaving and cutting to do throughout the entire MS. But the two who are most familiar with my writing agree that I’ve improved and seem to have hit my stride with this novel.

I can’t even explain how happy that makes me. If you’d told me two novels ago that I’d be okay with still improving as a writer on novel #3, I probably would have responded (in my head) about how I’ll be one of the lucky ones who sells her first novel and goes on to be a huge success. *ahem* Because we’ve all thought that. Time has given me a perspective I wasn’t sure I’d achieve, and now I can only hope for the best.

How did you know you’d found your writing niche? Have you changed genres over the course of your writing career? (except Adam who JUST started writing and has sold like 20 novellas)

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.

12 Comments

  1. ab

    That was a strange comment for your friend to make. I guess babies write picture books? I loved writing my daughter’s series. I did have to edit a little to keep it at the MG level though. It helped having kids that age to ask “Does this make sense to you?” Glad you found your niche! & love the new logo ๐Ÿ™‚
    PS – your teenage reader is painfully honest. No worries. She gave me the “what for” on my book #8. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • That’s such a relief to hear. I was worried she was afraid to be honest since she was talking to me on the phone.

      And I don’t think he meant the comment like that, it was more wondering how you get in the mindset to think like a different age group, and he didn’t think he could do that. He meant it in a nice way. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Congrats on enjoying your new niche!

    After writing my first attempt at a novel, I thought for sure I was a ‘dead’ ringer for fantasy or horror, but then I spent a year writing short stories and after looking at all of them, I realized they all had elements of science fiction. I found it interesting since my two favorite subjects in school and college were English and Science. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I LOVE being a part of the sci-fi niche.

    Looking forward to buying Flicker!!

  3. I knew I found my writing “niche” with Breathers, which was my fourth novel but the first one to be darkly comedic (and the first one to be published). Prior to that, the majority of my writing had been straight supernatural horror. But Breathers resonated with me in a way that my previous writing hadn’t and I realized I had a lot more fun trying to make myself laugh than trying to scare myself. That’s when I realized I’d finally found my voice.

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