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Friday, March 23, 2012

Development - Characters and Change of Voice in a Novel

23 March 2012, Development - Characters and Change of Voice in a Novel

Introduction: I realized that I need to introduce this blog a little. I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. The working title was Daemon, and this was my 21st novel. Over the last year, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel.

I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.

Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website and select "production schedule," you will be sent to

Sometimes (rarely) character voice must change.  You may and should change character voice in these circumstances:

1.  Development of the character
2.  Mental illness
3.  Physical or mental effects
4.  Personality
5.  Seduction
6.  Subterfuge
4.  ...there may be more, I'll think of them as I write about the others.

Any physical and mental effects need to be portrayed properly through voice--this includes mental illness.  In most of my novels, I try to portray characters that are real.  I also want to portray the unique.  I've written about this before.  Characters that are too real, that is like normal people, are really not worth reading about.  Characters that are unique and interesting in their own right are the ones that make great characters and produce great scenes.

All great characters have a telic flaw and are unusual.  They all are (or should be) at the edges of human normalcy.  This means the mental and/or physical aspects are somehow different than the norm.  In many great novels, the characters have personalities, features, mental characteristics, situations, abilities, training, etc. that makes them unique or very special in human existence.  The trick is to take these types of characters and make them real and acceptable to your readers.  I intentionally didn't use the words likable or lovable.  Some characters are likable or lovable, many are not.

If you think back to your favorite novels, you will find that the characters are very human and very enjoyable, but they are not normal.  They either have characteristics or abilities that make them very different or special of they develop characteristics that make them different or special.  The trick in writing is to give them a real voice that expresses these characteristics yet that sets them apart.  

How to project the character's voice is an important tool to a writer.  I'll discuss this and the other circumstances for change of voice, tomorrow.

I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples:, and the individual novel websites:,,,,, and

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