Last month, I won second place in the short story category for the Pacific Northwest Writer's Association literary contest. It was and is a proud moment for me, but I know you didn't stop by to read some BSP, so please excuse me for starting out like that. But I have a point about writing that I'd like to share--an insight that surprised me and might give inspiration to you.
The voice in my award-winning story was not the voice you're reading now.
The setting for my story is in western Kansas, a place where I spent most of my childhood summers and a place where my parents were born and raised. All my life I grew up hearing the distinctive western twang, the curt, bottom-line judgments, the simple distillation of events that are indicative to the region. Those voices settled deep in my subconscious and even though I am more southern/midwestern than western, (my family moved to Missouri after I was born) those voices are a part of my life.
When I started writing the story, those voices came alive. What came out was a story I didn't expect; one of those pieces of writing where you remember the actual writing, where you remember the music that was playing during the composition, but a piece where upon re-reading, you ask yourself, "Did I write that?"
I can do a pretty good British voice on the page, too, I think. Although I've never published a piece that included that voice, I enjoy writing it. I've only been to Great Britain once, but I love a number of British writers. I'm wondering now if their voices, too, have meandered their way into my brain.
What voices do you have lurking inside? Your parents or grandparents? The voices of a place or a time that intrigues you? Or a voice in your imagination: your muse whispering in your ear?