I was writing a piece that I need it to sound in love with. And after rereading, it doesn't sound in love. It was strange. The words seemed right. But they sound wrong somehow.
I had no option but to hack my inner voice.
Why is it possible to hack your inner voice?
“Boys think girls are like books, If the cover doesn’t catch their eye they won’t bother to read what’s inside.”
― Marilyn Monroe
The idea is that we have our authentic inner voice. But like any tool. It is specialized in some feelings, topics, or writing style.
This is because our inner voice is the result of the content we consume.
Every writer knows she sounds a bit of her favorites authors. They live within us. They become part of us.
Do you deny it?
No? I thought so.
We humans have the superpower of imitation. That is precisely how we learn to talk. And even develop our personality absorbing from the people we grow with.
It’s the same when writing. We all start imitating our favorite authors. Even if we are in the delusion of being “originals and unique.” It is unconscious.
We might pretend not to imitate no one, but our brain is doing it. That is why, like with food, it is so important to check what content we consume. Everything leaves a trace in our minds.
Well, but we really need to consume a lot of specific content to instill it in our thinking patterns. If we do. It might be good content. Otherwise, how did we tortured ourselves by reading so much bad writing?
Content behaves like a living organism. It seems to follow the rules of evolution and survival of the fittest.
Think about it, the authors we imitate also imitate a previous author and so on.
It means through countless generations of authors, the best styles, prose, sentences, and storytelling elements have been passed down till these days.
Novels aren't written like they were 150 years ago.
The best writing patterns, like species, survived, adapted, and thrive, roaming free in digital pages and between covers.
How do you hack your inner voice?
“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”
― William James, The Principles of Psychology
I do this to hack my inner voice when writing. Before I start typing, I intoxicate myself with an author voice I love.
In my favorite books, I already have selected the chapters that convey a specific feeling, emotion, or state of mind.
For example, I know that if I want the narrator or a character to sound philosophical or thinking about deep life issues, I will read Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card.
I know myself, and I am aware every time I read some chapters of that book, the feeling stays with me for a while.
Even more interesting is that we can focus on the energy of a specific character.
For example, I am aware if I read a specific scene from the point of view of Bean, Valentine, Ender, or the Hive Queen, each character leaves a different after-taste in the mind. All these are characters from Ender Saga and The Shadow Saga.
Basically, we become soul eaters. We eat the souls of stories, characters, and novels. The glow shines in our own voice, and you can feel it in the result.
But let us make this clear. It is not a purposeful imitation of the actual words or prose. The magic happens in the unconscious. You feel your writing is different. It is different.
Become a soul eater
“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
To become a soul eater, we use the acting technique of lending our emotions to the character we are interpreting. The twist is that we will conjure our own emotions and possess them with the characters' souls and stories we love.
The result is an inner voice intensified with the spirit of another writer or character. Use these resources to hack your inner voice:
- Stand-up comedy.
I love audiobooks. They save so much time. And if you find a version with an outstanding narrator is awesome. And there are several surprises where the author recorded the book. In those cases, you get the writing and the intonation and feelings intended for the author herself.
In Spotify, you can listen to several audiobooks. Can you believe there you find Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins? And a lot of classics are available too.
As a matter of fact, this awesome narrated audiobook is on YouTube. It is a delight.
Another interesting thing is that the how-to-write books are usually narrated by the writer herself. But I have found them only in Audible.
By the way, I am not promoting these platforms, and you won't find any affiliated link here.
I think of poems as fast shortcuts to specific emotions. If I want to write something that sounds sad, like a broken heart, I go to the old but trusted Poem #20 by Pablo Neruda.
After listening to it, we certainly can write the saddest lines.
If I need to spice up my voice tone in writing, I love to listen to Ralphie May. He was so funny and talented. May he journey well.
After listening to his jokes, I can write more cocky characters or teenagers with a rebel spirit. All in all, he always leaves me laughing and in such a good mood that I overflow with energy to write.
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
― Coco Chanel
I know what you are thinking. But then I am not myself, I am copying someone, but I want to be original.
No, you are not copying someone. In reality, we are getting inspiration.
The thing is that contrary to previous writers generation, we have these outstanding technologies at our disposal.
Why wouldn't we in our healthy minds use them?
Before us, writers got inspiration in the ocean or a forest. We do it also there plus the Internet. I am sure, in some years, it will be in endless virtual worlds like Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
Make a list of the media, content, books, or videos that moved you. Identify how you feel and take notes about it to use it the next time you have to write that feeling.
By doing so, you are letting the good writing patterns enter your writing DNA which will be passed down to the endless generation of writers to come.
Do you have something that moved you?
Something that made you laugh, smile, or cry?
More Stories by J.E. Guzman
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