18 March 2012, Development - Strong Characters and 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/.
You set voice in the same way that you set a scene. You set voice on characters; however, the voice proceeds out of the developed character. Voice is an intimate part of character revelation. Note, that you can't really vary or change character voice. I find it easy to keep a strong character voice throughout my novels. This is critical for an author. There are some times when character voice can change, but these are very rare. I'll discuss them.
Character voice, as a rule, should not change. Just as the history, character, and personality of your characters should not change, the voice (the projection of your character in the novel) must not change. This is what voice is--so if you were waiting for an erudite definition, this is it: character voice is the projection of a character's history, character, and personality within a novel. You can see why it should not change and why it can't change much over novels. In other words, if your character appears in a later novel, the character voice must not change much. The readers must be able to identify your character from their voice.
Now to the point of why I don't have problems with character voice. If you draw your characters strongly, you will not have a problem with character voice. It isn't the strongly developed characters that are a problem, but rather the weakly developed characters. Many writers draw their characters too finely. If you do this, your characters will fade into each other. People in the real worlds are many times milquetoast. Milquetoast people make terrible characters. I try to always write about characters who are bigger than life. Bigger than life characters have a strong voice and can't fade into the background. That's the point, isn't it? You don't want weak characters that are obscure in your book. You want to write strong characters that people remember.
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/.