Friday, August 3, 2012

Denise Grover Swank's Advice: Don't Argue With The Voices In Your Head

Today I have Denise Grover Swank talking about the voices in her head. I asked her to comment on the question I like to pose to authors ~~ (Denise has included a link to one of her YouTube videos. You have got to check it out! It is HILARIOUS!!)

So Denise ~ I have heard other authors say that they 'hear voices in their head' and that is how they write their books: the characters are telling their stories. Not being a writer myself, that concept has always intrigued me.

When some people hear voices, we get them medical attention, others end up becoming writers. Does this happen to you? How do you come up with your stories?

First, can I say how much I love this question? I have to answer by saying that I think most writers are a bit touched in the head. We just behave well in public because we’ve found a way to release our insanity. That’s the fun answer. The real answer, for me anyway, isn’t that I necessarily hear voices in my head, but see scenes instead. The voices are part of the scenes. And it also depends on if the book is in third person or first person.

When I write a third person book, the scene plays out in my head, like a movie, and my job is to capture what I see. That’s why a first draft is often more a listing of what’s going on. After I write the first draft, I go back later and layer in deeper POV and descriptions. Third person can be easier to write because although it’s POV specific to a certain character, it’s more universal. I see the entire scene.

But when I write first person POV, like in Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons, it changes. When I write Rose, I am in her head. I see through her eyes. I experience what she feels. While I do this with The Chosen series, which is my third person POV, and get into the characters heads, I have to work harder to get to their feelings.

When I write first person, because I immerse myself in the character, I am much more in tune with what is happening right then. My first drafts tend to be much cleaner and full of the character’s feeling and emotions because I am living in my character’s head. When I wrote I wrote the first book of the Rose Gardner Mysteries, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, I began talking in a southern accent. I drove my kids nuts. (This YouTube video is proof.) My then thirteen-year-old daughter nearly came unglued when, unknowingly, I ordered my Grande non fat, no whip Mocha at Starbucks drive through. With my southern accent. I just couldn’t help it.

One problem with hearing the character’s voice is that it’s harder finding an audiobook narrator. I reviewed MANY voice actors until I found the perfect actress to read Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes. (To be released on Audible, Amazon and iTunes around August 15) She still wasn’t the Rose I hear in my head, but she was the closest I could find.

I know a lot of authors have conversations with their characters. I’ve done this on very rare occasion. It’s usually me begging them to cooperate. To which they often refuse to listen. And they are always right. I’ve learned an important lesson: Don’t argue with the voices in your head.

Thank you, Denise, for such interesting insight into the mind of a wonderful writer, even if you do have a questionable Southern accent. But who am I to judge? I wouldn't be able to even attempt to speak with one.

And seriously, if you didn't watch the video, go and do it NOW!! I laughed out loud! It's is so funny!!

**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour's webpage will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons before August 6 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

Author Bio:

Denise Grover Swank lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She has six children, three dogs, and an overactive imagination. She can be found dancing in her kitchen with her children, reading or writing her next book. You will rarely find her cleaning.

You can find out more about Denise and her other books at 


  1. Ah yes, I've made that mistake a time or two. My characters always win though. And I couldn't agree with Denise more. It would have saved time to listen to them in the first place. LOL! Great interview!


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