Chelsea Martin on Accepting Her Writing Voice
In Conversation with Brad Listi on Otherppl
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From the episode:
Brad Listi: In terms of putting this book together and getting the various parts to click into place, what was the learning curve like for you? The entire novel feels so unified and well-honed.
Chelsea Martin: Thank you. Well, for a long time I was struggling with the voice and tone and the structure. I was pushing against my own voice, my natural way of writing, and trying to write something that felt more novelistic. When I finally made the choice to do this vignette style, kind of broken timeline—it’s chronological, but you jump from one scene to the next without really any explanation—once I figured that out and realized that it’s just the voice I’ve been writing with for years, then it felt like I could just accept my voice for this book. I guess the idea of a novel makes you think it has to read a certain way.
Brad Listi: Yeah, I have to learn that over, over, and over again on every project that I do. You try to avoid yourself and then you come back to yourself eventually. That’s the only way that it’s going to work.
Chelsea Martin: I also love the challenge of doing something completely different and wanting it to feel like a new thing I’m doing, but it’s always going to be me and I just have to accept that. I have my voice and I’m not going to be able to successfully stray too far from it. Probably.
Brad Listi: I feel the same way. I think there are writers who work from the outside in really well.
Chelsea Martin: I think about it like actors who feel like they play the same character over and over—it’s different stories in different worlds, obviously, but they’re just playing a version of themselves that’s really interesting, and they find the characters to play that work for them. That’s how my approach is starting to feel. My characters always feel like a version of me, even though that’s not my story.