Find Your Voice
I’ve long been disappointed with the lack of diverse characters in popular fiction today. My current work in progress is an attempt to shrink the gap.
However, yesterday I almost stopped. My current project is an interracial fantasy romance. My female main character is Afro-Latina, and her love interest is Asian. Oppression is seen as a means for white authors to create interesting characters. My thought process has always been you are golden as long as you write characters of color thoughtfully and have someone with that lived experience read through it. I had a thought. “People will probably say the same thing about me.” I am a white girl from a middle-class family. What do I know about growing up Afro-Latina? I wouldn’t.
My brain loves making excuses not to write, but no one else can tell this story. It’s mine. Is it unique? No, but everything has source material. The trick is finding your voice. How do you do that? Here are some ways I find my voice.
Read Popular Authors in Your Genre
Some teachers told me that authors use a combination of techniques by their favorite authors. You will see methods you admire and incorporate them into your writing style. This is relevant to any kind of media. Plays and films offer a different perspective on storytelling. Unlikely places can inspire authors to approach stories differently.
Reading in your genre helps you stay updated on the current trends of the Big Five. It’s a valuable resource when searching for an agent for books like yours.
Think About the Last Book you Hated
What did you dislike about it? What would you change if you could? If you write, it allows you to do that. You can write and try to flip the story. It could take you down a path you never expected. The novels we dislike tell us as much as the ones we love. Don’t like how that character lost all of their powers? How would you handle the situation if it were your story?
Don’t Stop until it’s Done
Some days will be hard. You will struggle for every word. Keep writing. To say “I’m not good enough” is too easy. The only way you will improve is by writing often. Eventually, you’ll have a finished manuscript in hand. Then you decide if your manuscript is going into your desk or if you will share your thoughts with the world.
The business of writing is tough, but pushing through self-doubt uncovers a new aspect of yourself.