My husband calls me a teeny-bopper. By the mere use of this dated descriptive, you can tell my husband and I are not, in fact, teenagers, or anywhere near those tumultuous, emotional, fantastic years. But he tells me that underneath the layers of the person known as ‘wife’ and ‘mom’ lies a person locked in the hormone-driven, highly passionate years of the teenager.
Is this good or bad?
Does this mean that I’m not a mature adult? That I shouldn’t be allowed to stay out past midnight, or that my Facebook page should be monitored for gross activity (and I don’t mean in the ‘yuck’ sense).
I don’t think so. I think it’s actually a compliment…somewhere in there.
For me, personally, what he is referring to, among many other things, is my love for all things pop-culture, my ability to belt out all the current hits, and my complete submersion into teenage television shows that leave me breathless, in tears, and/or fighting mad – just like I was there living the experience right along with the characters. He doesn’t know that when he’s at work, I watch YouTube webcasts with my daughter. And we don’t want him to know that, do we??
When writer’s talk about ‘voice’, it’s an elusive, yet imperative part of writing that you end up either simply having or you simply don’t. And if you don’t, the writing lacks that certain something that could make a good novel into a great novel.
What’s my voice?
Well, I think it’s clear. Young adult.
Young Adult fiction caters to, depending on who you ask, readers between the ages of 12 and early 20’s. This means that the main characters also fall within this age group. If you saw me now, you would clearly notice that I do not, in fact, fall within this category.
Yet, when I completed a recent Young Adult novel, titled, A Life, Redefined, I found my voice. I wrote the story in the first-person narrative, from the point-of-view of a 17-year-old gal named Rowan Slone. The story flew from my fingertips with such ease and speed, I nearly set the keyboard on fire.
I have nothing in common with Rowan other than we both grew up in Appalachia. She is a cutter. I never was. She is near-anorexic. No connection there either. I’ve always been very healthy. But she spoke to me, in subtle, quiet whispers; so much so, that when I was writing her story, I could see it unfolding, feel it unfolding. She had become a part of me.
How could a, ahem, 30-something writer write the story of a 17-year-old girl? When I started writing fiction, I never dreamed I would write in the Young Adult genre. I wrote third-person adult romance, preferably paranormal or fantasy, where I could create new worlds, enlist talking trees, and have some amazing sizzle thrown in there too. And yes, that is still a voice that I have. But I also have a new one. Young Adult.
Because at heart, I’m a teeny-bopper, though I really need a new descriptive.
But this Young Adult voice speaks to me, because I ‘speak’ that language. I don’t why, I just do. It’s my ‘voice’, and I’m sticking to it. Teeny-bopper, or not.
Maybe there is another voice for you out there too. Push the limits and try something new. You might just be surprised at what you find.
A Life, Redefined is currently out on submission. Send good vibes its way. It’s one of the best stories I’ve written yet!