In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I don’t like to read middle grade fiction while I’m writing middle grade fiction. When I do, the other author’s voice has a tendency to sidetrack my character’s voice. Annoying!
That said, I don’t have the same problem when I write nonfiction. That’s a good thing since I read a lot of reference material, nonfiction all, whenever I undertake a new project. I think the primary reason for this is that my nonfiction voice is so well-developed. As my son describes it, I sound like a very well read pirate. When I glare at him, he translates this as “educated but irreverent.”
Because I have developed my nonfiction voice, I can read nonfiction that is poetic or chatty without getting sidetracked. I can read a rhyming picture book. I can read a scholarly article.
The only time that I sometimes lose track of my nonfiction voice is when I write about something that I studied in college. I’m usually pretty good when its history or cultural anthropology but when I write archaeology? Acadababble emerges. Acadababble is, quite simply, academic babbling. No longer do I sound smart but cheeky. I sound like a professor. The reason? The hours spent working in archaeology at this point still exceed the hours spent writing about archaeology for a nonacademic audience. The solution? Write, write and write some more.
Incidentally, that’s the same thing that will eventually make relocating my fiction voice easier. Write, write and write some more.