NOTE: Don Bosco is the author of the award-winning LION CITY ADVENTURES series, about a society of children dedicated to exploring Singapore, making new friends and solving mysteries. This post is part of a series about the creative inspiration behind the books, the publishing process, etc.

Every successful writer has a unique voice. A writing style that you can recognise. A creative and artistic signature. It’s made up of many things — vocabulary, the rhythm of the words, the types of descriptions, the way the setting is created, the way the characters are introduced and developed, even the way you add the funny parts.

Once you find your voice, once you figure out your own unique way of writing about all these things, that’s when your best work comes out of you. You no longer spend your time struggling to string together generic phrases and stock sentences. Instead, you just allow your storytelling voice to take over. The result is that your stories sparkle. Your books are special. What a joy that is.

But how do you find your voice? Here’s a simple tip.

Take a legend or folk tale, something you’re familiar with, something that you’re sure others will also know well. See how you might rewrite this in your own style.

Ask yourself: how would you make the characters in the legend more interesting, and also more fascinating? How would you tweak the story events to make them more gripping? To create a greater sense of drama?

How would you bring out the sparkle and mystery and adventure, so that readers get lost in your telling, and they start to realise that perhaps they might even enjoy your version the best?

This is what I did with the legends of Singapore for the third Lion City Adventures book. You might have already heard about Badang the hero, perhaps the strongest man in Singapore’s history. Well, if you read this book you’ll get to enjoy my very own version of this. And also my own version of how the coast of Singapore was once attacked by killer swordfish. And also my version of how some enemies from up north came to attack Singapore many hundreds of years ago but we were saved by a great wall that protected the city.

As a writer, I believe that the heroes in folk tales and legends are here to inspire us. They make sure that we rise to the challenge and bring out the most exceptional and emotionally resonant ideas that lie within us. When we create from the best of our ability, like this, that’s when we truly discover our creative potential, and that’s how memorable stories are written.

It’s quite a simple process, once you’re willing to try it. You’ll be inspired to work on your own stories even more. You’ll be able to share your art with all of us. Can you imagine how exciting that feels?

Enjoy these legends and pass on the experience to others if you can, the way these stories have been shared with you. Stories come to life when they bring us together like this.

Write your own legends. Or draw them. Or create songs about them. The Lion City Adventuring Club would be so proud of you.


Book 1: Lion City Adventures

Book 2: Secrets of the Heartlands

Book 3: Island of Legends

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Yes, SECRETS OF THE HEARTLANDS (Lion City Adventures, Book 2) has been nominated for this year’s POPULAR READERS’ CHOICE award. Please take some time to vote for your favourite books, and you might win a $50 voucher plus 1 year Popular card membership. For readers in Singapore only.

Vote and win here:

For updates about Don Bosco’s new book projects, visit the Super Cool Books website here.