Finding your voice

I’ve only been writing for about five years, but I’ve been developing my writing voice for as long as I can remember. It’s an elusive thing to pin down. It’s the reason why I will argue until my dying day that art is as much about the inner work of the artist as it is the outward talent of the work itself. Think of your favorite singer. What is it about them that gives them that title? Is it the lyrics, the beat of the song, their overall style, or perhaps some combination of all these? There is a familiarity in our favorite songs. Something that pulls at us in a more powerful way. This pull can ebb and flow with our moods, but the range remains the same. For me, a song goes from good to great when I can hear that the artist believes what they are singing. When music comes from somewhere other than lungs pushing air through vocal cords, it grabs my attention. If you listen closely there are singers out there who have found their inner voice. Their songs pack more punch. The emotional connection we have for them is heightened, and lyrics take on a deeper meaning.

Singers are not the only ones who need to find this inner voice. In one way or another, we all do. My sister’s helped me come up with my author tag-line. It is the closest thing I have to putting my writing voice into one sentence. “Fantastical journeys into our human experience.” I love the fantasy genre. Where else can you read about or create a world where the only limitations are our imagination. This endless freedom is exciting, and helps us escape from the monotony of our everyday lives. But the love of a genre is not enough to shape your voice. I needed to add more layers from who I am as a person. I needed to add my inner voice.

I am very passionate about human rights and equality for all. This has been the case for as long as I can remember. I always rooted for the underdog, and stood up for the overlooked. As I grew older I was shocked to find out that not everybody sees the world this way. Part of growing up is realizing how much different you are from the world. How your unique series of viewpoints shape what you think reality is. No place reiterates this fact more than social media. All of our clicks, likes, loves, comments, and shares begin to shape our online reality. We see more of what we like and less of what makes our skin crawl. Despite social media’s best efforts we all still run into that dreaded thing we all try to avoid. An opinion that stands starkly apposed to our own. We see one of these lingering in our social media feed and we are instantly transported to another reality. One where this completely contrary opinion is the new normal. In my experience, when someone outside of the reality of these posts steps in and offers an alternative, it is immediately met with distaste. Opinions have become divisive, throwing people into an “us vs them” mentality.

Fiction writing is different. While the opinions of the writer still very much matter, writing is about story, about narrative, about character development. Readers get to immerse themselves in the story of another. To see things through their eyes. Experience their pain and suffering. This is what I aim to inject into the fantasy genre. A story that is full of magic and wonder that is centered on real world issues. Sometimes it’s easier to deal with difficult real world issues when they come up in a fictional world. It’s no longer a rogue post from a forgotten time in your past. It’s a window into another reality. Another story. It is in this mix of concepts that I have found my writing voice. I write this post not only to give readers a sense of what to expect from my first novel set to be published in 2021, but also to encourage them to dig deeper into their own inner world. To find a way to meld it with their artistic talent. What is it that makes your heart sing? What keeps you up at night, and keeps your mind churning for answers. Find that, combine it with something whimsical, something fun or imaginative, and a voice is born.

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