First off, I want to thank everybody who participated in my Voice Exercise post two weeks ago. If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to go read it, and to read the stories everyone submitted.
I was actually quite nervous about trying this in a blog format, because it would’ve been so easy for people to cheat. Normally I do it in classes, where it’s pretty much impossible to cheat. But it’s clear to me that people followed the rules that I established, so now I’m going to drive the point home:
No one can ever write the story you will write. Do not ever tell yourself that there’s no point in trying to tell a story because it’s been done before. It may have been, but you have not done it, and that means there’s still something unique you can bring to it.
I gave you guys six sentences and asked you to rewrite them in your own way, and to continue on for a while. Thirty or so people participated, and there are thirty completely different stories all born from the same six sentences.
Nobody else can ever write the story you will write.
Seriously. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, there was a huge, huge, HUGE upsurgence of Arthurian fantasy. I must have read fifty variations on the Arthur legend. I loved them all, because they were all trying to do something new with a beloved structure. In today’s market, it’s vampires, and everyone is trying to bring something new to the table. In another twenty years it’ll be something else. Whatever it is, however often it’s told, there is a story only you’re going to bring to the table. So bring it, because that’s one of the joys of this writing life: discovering that your particular way of telling a story can’t be duplicated, and that it might just touch somebody.
Be brave. Your voice is your own. Trust it, and tell the story you want to.
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