Monday, September 30, 2013

Voices

Thank you for not correcting me on my last post. As today is September 30, and NOT October 1, I will actually round out the month with 27 posts, a number which is also quite appealing. After all, three cubed is 27, and cubic numbers are just as cool as square numbers.

But that's not why I am posting.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about certain characters. As a writer (and I am going to call myself that, because even if I never publish anything, I do write. You can't argue with that statement.) it is part of my job to make my characters different from one another. No one wants to read about a couple of characters who are basically the same. Where's the conflict, the story, in that? And not everyone speaks the same way or thinks the same way, so what I try to do is find the character's distinct voice.

Is this character a girl or a boy? Are they rich or poor? What nationality are they? Do they come from the South or North Dakota? Do they come from a family with no dad? Twelve kids? Go to private school? Live in the ghetto? What was their childhood like? And how about their adulthood? Have they realized their dreams or always fallen short?

It's a tough thing to do, to get all of a person's personality onto a piece of paper. Think of yourself, and how you'd try to portray your voice if the only thing you could do is write about it. What sort of voice do you have?

I won't reveal much of my voice, which as changed over time, but I can say this: the writing process has been instrumental in the discovery of my true voice. No matter what happens with any of my stories, I know that my time has not been wasted.

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