The giant apple was feral, it grew on a self-sown tree in the neighbour’s paddock and the truth is, I was amazed at how this apple had flourished without water, without fertilisers…and without chemical sprays.
It seemed like the perfect metaphor for writing – I mean let’s face it, how often are we told by publishing professionals that they are looking for a unique idea, a unique voice.
Okay, so this apple is big, and that might not be your thing – but what is? Think about what it is about your writing that will make a reader recognise it as your work.
Some things to consider that help your writing stand out as being new, fresh, individual:
- Your author voice
- Your character’s voice
- The Point of View you choose to write in
- Format – doesn’t have to be straight narrative
- The world you build for your story
- The way you tell your story – let your personality shine through
- Language you choose – don’t be afraid to experiment with how you use words
This apple also made me think about free writing – about letting yourself go. This apple just grew. Nobody told it how big it should be before it stopped grow, it just did its own thing.
To me there’s a message in that for us. Put submission guidelines, latest trends etc out of your head and do your own thing. Write the story you have to write – the one that means something to you.
I started writing Letters to Leonardo more than ten years before it was published. One of the reasons it took so long was that as a a very inexperienced writer, I allowed a mentor to talk me out of my story. She said that teens would not know who Leonardo da Vinci, that art was “old hat” in children’s books and that I should not write in first person.
Under her guidance, I ended up with a competent story called Space that lacked spark. It wasn’t until I broke free and went back to my original story (told in first person, with art themes and Leonardo Da Vinci) that it was published.
Don’t impose rules on your story before you’ve even started it. Allow the ideas to bloom naturally – to take you in unexpected directions.
Allow your natural writer’s voice to flourish. Surprise yourself as a writer, and chances are, you’ll surprise your reader.
I’d love to hear your stories about how following your instincts and reflecting your unique self in your writing led to publication.
Feel free to share in the comments section of this post.