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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The voices in my head.

I like to think that I'm a very voice-driven writer. And whether that translates well on the page (screen?) or not, my main goal is to give the character a specific voice. I think of my characters a certain way, and I try to make sure that their tone comes across that way.

For example, in Zombie Nom Nom my main character's name is Lacey. However, she's anything but sweet, and I tried to make her opposite her name. She used to be sweet. But after TEH ZOMBAYS she hardened. She's sarcastic and a little rough around the edges. She's protective, and in my mind, she's a bit of a badass. And I try to make all that come through the page. Hopefully when someone reads from Nom, they get the feel that Lacey is this chick who would do anything for ya, but she'd sure as heck tell you how much she hates doing so.

In Juniper, while I'm still working on her definite voice, I try to get her to come across as a little indifferent. She's blunt and honest, and she isn't going to be easily persuaded by all these people that surround her. She doesn't care. She's confidant, and she doesn't give a crap about what you have to say to her.

(Both of these, by the way, are being put aside for New Project, because I'm still infatuated with New Project. A lot.)

New Project's character Coye is kind of straight-forward, with just a hint of humor. She doesn't goof around all that much; she's in a place where she's constantly stressed. So I make her sound that way: Confused and irritated.

While I obviously don't have things perfected, I hope that the girls' voices are loud and clear. And when they are, everything else is easier to come by as well. If your characters have a voice, then they have a good identity. And with good identity comes good character! Or maybe the other way around? Or are they the same thing? (Oh dear.) Either way, they're enterlocked together. Without one, the other can exist, but it's harder. Not only does the voice create a character, it's also used for how the story is told as a whole.

I think that the more you write, the easier it is to make a clear voice. And to distinct it. With practice, every author has a specific way they write. Heck, even my English teacher tells me how much of a voice I have in my writing, and that's just when writing essays. So when you take your writer-voice, and you twist it to mold something specific, you have quite a dandy character to work with.

But maybe that's just me, and my rambles. I've always found voice important, since I read mostly for the character. Plot-driven novels are always fun too, but I'm much more involved in the story, and willing to keep reading, if I like hearing from the character.

What think you? Do you strive for the perfect voice, or something else? How do you clamp down on the perfect voice? Also, tell me, what is life?


Colene Murphy said...

I love the sound of your indifferent, blunt MC!! Also must agree that your voice comes with practice. It develops just as your writing skill does. Which is kinda cool!

LindsayWrites said...

hi!! new follower from the YA book blog directory! love the blog and i'm excited to read more!!

i deff. agree that the more practice, the more fluid the voice! if i fall in love with the character, you've got me there to stay for the plot, even if its so-so.

follow me too?!

Amelia said...

God. You TOTALLY got it down. This is probably the thing that frustrates me MOST about writing. Not really that I don't have anything planned for my plot but that my character isn't coming off RIGHT. I find badass characters to be the hardest to write and the truly frustrating part? They're the type of character I want to write most!! I've put aside a truly wonderful story just because I can't get that character's voice anymore...*sigh*

Fantabulous post!! :) Good to hear from you, chica. :D


Maggie said...

Colene: I think it's cool too. It kind of helps you learn if you're getting better too, which is great. And thanks! It's interesting to write with her.

Lindsay: Hey, thanks! If a character is good, I'll definitely continue if the plot is so-so, too. And sure, checking it out now. :)

Amelia: I think it's difficult too! With a plot, you can add and take away fairly easily. You really have to work to create a consistent and interesting character; it's hard to nail. It's sad about the story, but I've had to do the same thing. Sigh.