14 March 2012, Development - more Voice in the First Scene
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 http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.
This is where the character description and history (development) is critical. But development isn't enough. That is, it isn't enough to design a character, you have to give that character life. First, you create a character. You build them like an object with a framework of being. You give them a history and a brain. You give them a place in the world. You describe a body, features, and face for them. You clothe them. Finally, you set them loose.
The setting loose is the voice. A character can be as stiff as a board or as fluid and real as the author can write them. For example:
Jack said, "I don't like you, Mike."
Mike said, "I don't like you either."
Instead, giving the characters' voice, we could write:
Jack shook his head, "Mike, you are an absolute pain."
Mike punched Jack's shoulder playfully, "Yeah, you're a pain yourself."
Or a totally different voice:
Jack scowled, "So help me, Mike."
"I'll help you," Mike smacked the side of Jack's face.
Or even different:
Jack's fingers twitched. The sides of his face twitched, "So help me, Mike."
Mike raised his hands, "Don't do it, Jack."
In each of these examples, the characters Jack and Mike have been given different voices. In the first example, they are like boards. There is little meaning or intensity in their interaction. In the second example, the voice and the interchange is playful. In the third example, they are both contentious. In the fourth, Jack is aggressive and Mike the opposite. Yet, in each example, they said almost the same thing. In each example, they were the same people with the same description, same history, name, etc. (I didn't tell you any different). The point in each example is the voice of the characters.
We'll look more at voice in the first scene in the creative process in Aksinya tomorrow.
I'll repeat my published novel websites so you can see more examples: http://www.ldalford.com/, and the individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel.com/, http://www.centurionnovel.com/, http://www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, http://www.thefoxshonor.com/, and http://www.aseasonofhonor.com/.