I’m working on re-writing a WIP so it fits nicely into my Destined For Love series, and I’ve got a heroine I’m struggling with to find the right voice for. Okay, here’s the caveat of this statement (or tangential explanation I will give in my usual long winded manner), my heroines are usually women I consider in my closest peer group. Women in their early to mid 30s with voices that are reflective of how I experience this time in my life. I very rarely make them younger because as hip and cool as I think I am (considering I said I was looking at my Tweeter feed the other day, my cool factor is pretty strained) I find it hard to have an authentic 20 something year old voice. I don’t even dare try teens, even with the years I spent immersed in youth culture as an educator, because yeah, see the above comment about “Tweeter”. I’ve only ever gone the opposite end of the age spectrum once, and it was a short that had magical whammy stuff happening that I felt comfortable writing a character significantly older than me. Over all though, I’ve kept a right reign on my age ranges. It could be a cop out of course and if I was really committed to expanding my craft I would blah blah blah whatever it is people say to shame you into trying something you’re not comfortable with but I kept thinking, it just ain’t happening. Until recently that is. This new character is a woman in her early 40s that has fought to hold her own in a male dominated profession of finance. She’s smart, witty, vulnerable, and stubborn, but most of all from a historical perspective would have had a very different lived experience than me because of those 10-12 years she has on me. There are some things that overlap but there is something to be said for the fact that being a teen in the 80s, twenty something in the 90s, and cusping into your 30s at the dawn of the millennium gives you a different world view than someone that was in college during Y2K.
Now this is when I try to sooth myself with thoughts like, “The majority of your female friends are her age” and even I have to admit that in any other context the, “But some of my best friends are…” sounds offensively trite. I also have to acknowledge as well that I over think things to such an extreme degree when it comes to writing (honestly, I’m way more chill with regards to other things in my life) that I’ve possibly inhibited myself from completing a large chunk of writing over the years. Mostly because I’m quick to discard prose that doesn’t feel as I mentioned earlier, “authentic”. Slightly neurotic (possibly more but I’m working on being kinder to myself when it comes to writing), but I can’t seem to work my way out of that place. That is until while perusing my FB timeline I saw the following quote by Rumi, “The lamps are different, but the light is the same.”
When I described my heroine earlier as I stated she’s smart, witty, vulnerable, and stubborn, and all of those things are shaped by her age. Yet, I’m seized with this fear that it will just be a number on a page as she speaks with this early 30s voice. Her experiences told from the perspective of someone that has only ever window shopped at life. Remember I mentioned that neurosis, yeah, it’s crazy making. So I’m going to keep this quote by Rumi tacked somewhere visible, helping me to remember there are universal truths to the human experience that I should focus on, and hopefully when I’m all done, I’ll look at this heroine I’ve created and think, I can’t wait to be her.