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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Writing your own 'distinct sound'

“I just believe that young people need to be able to learn how to write in their own voice. Just like a musician, you pride yourself on having your own distinct sound.” – Terry McMillan

Born on this day in 1951, McMillan grew up in Michigan and earned a degree from UC-Berkeley before starting her writing career in her late 30s.  After modest success, she had a major breakthrough with the 1992 best-seller Waiting to Exhale, credited with contributing to a shift in Black popular cultural consciousness and the visibility of a female Black middle-class identity in popular culture. 
And while she drew on her own experiences for part of that book, it was the 1998 semi-autobiographical novel How Stella Got Her Groove Back that firmly cemented her writing as a force to be reckoned with.

Her work is characterized by relatable female protagonists, and she says all of them reflect a part of herself, something she thinks all writers have incorporated into their work.   

“Few writers are willing to admit (that) writing is autobiographical,” she said.  “But it mostly is.”

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