"Polly," my friend from the South drawled in her soft sweet voice, "you’re discouraged because this edit has wiped out your voice." She handed me a box of Kleenex.
I wiped my tears and sniffed. "I've taught on voice, but I can’t see or hear it in my own work. It's funny that you should discover that and I'm glad you did. Can you help me?"
"Of course, this editor has begun to insert her own voice into your work and I can see it clearly, the difference between the two of you. You talk like you are from the west, this editor is from the east and she's inserting words that you don't use in your everyday speech. Remember your husband once told you to write like you talk. Don't try to pick up vocabulary you don't ordinarily use." Jodie continued, "Every time I read something that you've written, I can tell that you did it and I can also "hear" when someone has changed something that isn't you."
"There's a cadence to your writing and an expected way that only you do things. As you bring your characters to life, they can be heard by the reader. For me, it's a heart thing. Heart to heart, ya know sweet thing?" Jodie hugged me. "There's critiques and edits that help your work sing with constructive criticism. But don’t “fix” if the changes are cold and unfeeling or you don’t understand what the correction means. She patted my hand and smiled, "You aren't Jim or Jodie, you're Paulette.”
I nodded. “Thanks for sharing that I don’t always have to change what is suggested.”
My friend added, “Don't forget that fiction is different than non-fiction. You can take a few more liberties with fiction and someone that doesn't understand the differences, should not be editing your work. It will only discourage you. This editor doesn't have a handle on the fiction yet.
Her warm honey words soothed my troubled heart and fed my soul. It was a deep southern love and care for me that struck me most. Her personality is predictable. Just like our writing and lives should be as we walk together.