Finding My Voice

Betty Smith has kindly consented to provide the fourth entry in this series about the experiences of newly published authors. A retired college professor, Betty came late to the craft of fiction writing. I’m pleased to say she made up for lost time very quickly. Here’s what she has to say about finding her voice, an important step in the journey toward publication:

I never expected to write a novel when I first stepped into Josh’s class on fiction writing in January, 2015. In fact, I did not believe I had the creativity necessary to write fiction; however, completing the short writing assignments he gave us taught me I could write fiction. Abby’s Choice (2016) was the result, and now I am working on my second novel. It is through this process that I have come to recognize something of my voice.

Voice is a nebulous concept, and even re-reading chapter 14 of Josh’s book, Write Naked, does not allow me to adequately define it – you will just have to ask him to explain it. But I now recognize four elements pertaining to my writing that are part of my voice.

1– My aim in writing, as in everything I do, is to honor God and bring glory to His name. I have come across many books with foul language and explicit sex; mine will have none. Nor will my villains be satanic.

2– It is often said a writer should write what he/she knows. Although this is not necessarily true, I do write what I know – love. I have known nothing but love my entire life. My stories will always have a happy-ever-after quality, even though I know “ever after” does not occur in the real world.

3– With my academic background, I love the research required to imbue my story with verisimilitude (one of the many things I learned from Josh). The factual material I include will always be as accurate as I can make it. This same background ensures I will always strive to be grammatically correct and precise in my wording. For example, you may have noticed I do not like to use contractions (unless called for to distinguish characters by dialect or to make dialogue believable).

4– I am a teacher; therefore, I will use my research to give the reader factual information which he/she may not know, perhaps to stimulate further inquiry into the topic.

I knew from an early age I wanted to be a teacher, and I recognize my ability to adjust my style to match my audience, from elementary grade to senior citizens, to be a gift from God. So, too, is my fiction writing.

Abby’s Choice is available now from You can get your copy right here!

About joshlangston

Grateful and well-loved husband, happy grandparent, novelist, editor, and teacher. My life plate is full, and I couldn't be happier. Anything else I might add would be anticlimactic. Cheers!
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6 Responses to Finding My Voice

  1. Doris Reidy says:

    Beautifully put, Betty; a reflection of your beautiful mind.

  2. Vikki Yoder says:

    Best of everything, Betty. It sounds like your book will be perfect for our society at this time, I look forward to reading it. Josh is an amazing teacher, and very inspirational. I, too, am a retired teacher. I taught children in the Gifted Program in Cobb County.

  3. joshlangston says:

    I do enjoy Betty’s work, but I must confess, one of her better stories involved a very prim and proper gal who dares to take a walk on the wild side. In the process, she learns what it means to “go commando.” That was an eye-opener for both Betty *and* the fictional character. [Chuckle] I was, and still remain, proud of her for pushing the envelope.

  4. polinto says:

    Good job, Betty!

  5. sonyabravermanaolcom says:

    Well done, Betty!

  6. Betty says:

    Thank you, everyone, for your kind words.

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