I was raised in a middle-class, university-educated, secular Scottish home, while a friend of mine grew up in a sprawling and deeply religious Texas family. I’m always fascinated to hear about her marriage, her experiences at Bible camp, and her rebellious and reactionary adolescence. I realized that she was equally interested in my life with my girlfriend, and dealing with my father’s mental health issues. She thought that her life was normal and slightly dull, just as I thought the same about mine; yet to one another, our lives were completely different and completely fascinating.
We all view the world through a different lens. Our interests, our upbringing, our politics, and how we live our lives now all contribute to how we see the world. The specifics that make us who we are also make us notice different aspects of the world that would otherwise go unnoticed.
This realization opened up new writing markets for me. I had never thought to write about mental health, for example; but I realized that I had insider information that would be of interest to readers. As a queer woman, I face prejudices and assumptions that most people are completely unaware of. These, among other things, are my individual lenses on the world.
On the other hand, I have no experience of being blind or having a mixed-race heritage or losing a child or being raised by a single parent or overcoming cancer. Perhaps these are your lenses on the world, and you can use this unique worldview in your writing. Try and hone in on some of the things that affect how you experience life, and you will find dozens of markets that will want to hear about your own unique viewpoint.
Kirsty Logan is a writer, editor, reviewer, and teacher. She is the founder and editor of fiction magazine Fractured West and the reviews editor of PANK. She lives in Glasgow, Scotland. Visit her at: http://www.kirstylogan.com
BAM Advanced Fiction Techniques: First Pages
There are three basic ways to hook readers. Do you know what they are?