I miss Robert Jordan. Robert Jordan is the author of the fantasy book series, "The Wheel of Time". He is my all time favorite writer. His world is like Tolkien's on steriods. His characters are so real and the world is so alive. Some people lament that his books have too much detail and not much happens in the 700+ pages of some of the books, but I don't care. When I read his books, I'm not just reading a story or a plot line. I'm walking around in his world. I'm seeing the different cultures, I'm tasting the different foods, and I'm becoming friends with his characters. Unfortunately, Robert Jordan passed away in 2007 leaving his family and fans to feel the loss of his voice.
Luckily for his fans, another author was found to finish "The Wheel of Time" series for us. (He passed away after book 11). Brandon Sanderson is a wonderful writer and if I had just one ounce of his talent I would be a very happy writer indeed. Book Twelve, exceeded my expectations. Brandon did very well at taking the notes and unfinished scenes of Robert Jordan and blending them into a wonderful book. There will be fourteen books in all. Book Thirteen just came out, and for the first time I could tell the difference between Brandon Sanderson's voice and Robert Jordan's voice. This book has been the best teacher for me on actually learning what voice is in a novel.
The thing is, you can't copy the voice of another writer and you shouldn't want to. Last February at a writing conference at BYU (LTUE - Life, the Universe, and Everything) Brandon said he wouldn't even try to mimick Jordan's voice, but use his own. He was true to his word and the world of Robert Jordan's has a new voice that adds more complexity to the story. While I do enjoy the new perspective on my favorite world, the most recent book has made me finally feel the loss of my favorite author. I miss his voice. I miss his perspective of the male/female relationships and I miss his detail and the passion his voice had. Now don't get me wrong. I'm very appreciative to Brandon Sanderson and the reverence with which he is showing the story. His writing is amazing and I love the detail he is showing to each and every plot line to make sure the story is satisfying.
I'm just saying that voice in a novel is like a fingerprint that you can't copy and I'm missing Robert Jordan's fingerprints. He is an amazing writer and by leaving his books in the hands of another I have finally been taught what voice really is. He is still teaching me how to write long after his death and I will always have a special place in my heart for Robert Jordan.
Now I want to speak to you all about voice and tell you that you are all unique as writers. No one can tell you story like you. Do you ever discard an idea because you saw a movie or a book that was similar to your idea? Don't do it. Because no one can write the same idea the same way. You have your own fingerprint, don't be afraid to use it. Maybe you are thinking that writing is too hard, or that your not good enough. Now I want you to think about your favorite authors and how your life would be different without their voices. What if your voice could make a difference in someone else's life? What if your voice could bring a smile to someone's face? Sit down and make those writing goals for 2011 and don't let your voice be missed by the world!!