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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Development - more Change of Voice in a Novel

21 March 2012, Development - more 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.  ...there may be more, I'll think of them as I write about the others.

When a character develops significantly, the voice of that character should change.  The change must be subtle and gradual, but at the end of the novel, the character is not the same character as at the beginning.  As Aristotle (and many others have noted) this change can only occur to the protagonist.  In any novel, only the protagonist can have a telic change.  That doesn't mean other characters can't change in some way, but they can't have a life changing turn of events--that is reserved for the protagonist.  If someone other than your protagonist has a life changing turn of events, you wrote about the wrong character.

In one of my novels, the main character grows up.  She goes from a gawky underdeveloped girl to a somewhat mature woman.  She finds love and discipline and realizes what is really worthwhile in the world.  She also learns to control herself.  This is the greatest difference in voice from the beginning to the end.  She begins as an unsure person and ends up more sure of herself.  The change and the change in voice are gradual and subtle.  At the beginning of the novel and at the end of the novel, you know who this character is--in other words, the voice of the character is strong, but it is different.  Can you see how difficult and yet important this is?  You must be able to write your character's voice such that it changes gradually and subtly through the entire novel.  The result can't lose the original character and the final character must be similar enough to the original that the voice is not lost.

How to project the character's voice is part of the problem.  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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