I created Mariana Cortez, a character from my recently completed short story, a couple of years ago. She was suppose to be this nerdy girl who undergoes a transformation. Hers was a basic story of changing… a makeover if you will.

But her tale has changed. I don’t know what made me decide to change her story. Maybe because I wanted to challenge myself. (My short stories are where I get to flex my literary muscle.) Or maybe because at the time I was reading Woodcuts of Women and Oscar Wao and I wanted to write something with some meat. (Don’t get me wrong, I love writing Chica Lit but sometimes, I just want something a little darker.)

So I decided to write this story about a girl, in that in between stage of teenager and adult where you think you know better but you don’t, who is made over by an addiction. It’s probably one of the more sinister stories I’ve written lately.

My writing group is set to critique it next week but some of the members jumped the gun and read it early. I took my friend Seti’s copy home on Tuesday. (I have dubbed Seti the squid killer since everyone’s story comes back dripping with ink from Seti’s pen. )

So the big thing Seti commented on was the character’s voice. She liked it! And so did some other people. Mariana talks like my homegirls in Houston with the chopped up English and the attitude effused speech. Writing in Mariana’s voice was so EASY. Super duper easy with ice cream on top. While I was writing the short story, I realized that I enjoyed writing in her voice more than I did in the narrator’s voice. It makes sense to me like Oscar Wao made sense, like the cheap Mexican paint line in Woodcuts made sense. It just clicked.

Could it be that my alter ego could be… Mariana Cortez ?

Well, I think that still remains to be seen but writing in that voice felt good. I felt like I was 19 again, starting out in Houston’s literary scene and making a name for myself. Thanks, Mariana!