Last Thursday, one of my favorite shows had its season premiere. I absolutely love "Project Runway" for several reasons; but mostly because it sends the message that to be the best artist, you need to express the vision of how you see the world. The designers who win the show come at fashion from a specific viewpoint, and their clothes are an expression of that. They have a vision, a voice, and their creations tell their story.
It's those who let the "rules" or the "judges" overpower their voice that get sent home. Those artists lose sight of who they are as a designer. They forget who the woman they are creating clothes for really is. And in a sense, they lose themselves.
I'm sure you've read books by authors that seem to have lost their voice. Maybe you loved their last book, but the current one doesn't seem to have the same energy. You notice that the things you loved about their stories is missing from the one you're reading.
And you've also read books that seems to change the author you thought you knew. She's writing something different than her last book, but it feels real. It sparkles and shines. It's got that "it" factor that you wanted. It has an emotional impact that lasts long after you've finished the story.
If I were to give advice to a novice writer or one of the designers on "Project Runway", I would tell them to find your voice. Figure out the unique way you see the world. And then find the right story for your voice. If your voice is sweet, a suspense story may not be the right fit. If you have an edgy voice, a sweet romance won't sound right. The combination of your authentic voice and the right story will open doors!
And like Tim Gunn would say, "Make it work!"