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Writing Changes With Age

I made a Facebook post on my personal page the previous week regarding my writing. This post was made in good humor, as I was cheering myself on for putting the last few lines on a WIP (Work In Process) that I was struggling with:

For months my latest novel has been thisclose to finished. I couldn’t end it. Tonight I finally got the last 100 words typed out. The missing link was threatening to neuter a human character (and now you’re all wondering what kind of messed up stuff I write…)

A day later I thought about this particular post, and my writing for my first book straight through this novel, which is my fourth completed draft. And I realized something: my writing at the age of twenty-one is different than thirty-two (want the math? I was born in ’81, and proud of it, but shh, don’t tell).

At twenty-one I was wholesome. Youthful eyes wide open and ready to tackle the wide world of adulthood. LILA’S CHOICE, in many ways represents this stage of my life. My first novel has a sweetness to it, an innocence to it. And even though I am now older than my characters, I can’t wipe that innocence from the novel. This is the way she’s meant to be.

My second novel, a sequel to LILA’S CHOICE currently titled (subject to change) CHOICE AND CONSEQUENCE, was written between the ages of twenty-three and thirty-two. Most of the novel penned while I was in editing hell and craving the thrill of a fresh, clean manuscript to write. Therefore it has that innocence preserved, but perhaps with a bit more of an age as life evolved around me and changed me.

My latest two novels, my contemporary romances, were both penned at thirty-two. Not quite so innocent as the above Facebook quote may suggest. There’s an edge to these novels and there’s on page sex, which takes the innocence right out of the novel. My writing has evolved, my confidence in my written word grown. My voice is still there but the two types of novels feel so different.

Which leaves me in a bit of a panic. CHOICE AND CONSEQUENCE (CaC) is up for editing. It is time for me to shift my focus back to the CHOICE series and play once again with my first character, my old friends. Who are now younger than me, immortal fools. I’m left to wonder what will happen in the editing process. Will CaC keep that innocent flair that LILA’S CHOICE has, will it flow from book one to book two? Or will my more adult writing forever alter the series?

My writing is about to be tested. While I’m happy with what is penned on the page at thirty-two, my characters and story represents a different part of myself.

In many ways, I’m thankful for the experience: a chance to reflect on how I have grown as an author, a chance to prove my skills, and a chance to go back in time.

Any writers out there want to weigh in? How has your writing changed over time? Can you go back and mimic your younger self? Or is the fate of CaC already in trouble?

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