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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Development - The World of Voice in the First Scene

17 March 2012, Development - The World of 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 and select "production schedule," you will be sent to

The point of voice, just as the point of character revelation, is to produce a world that immerses your reader.  I've written here and elsewhere about how not to kick your readers out of the world you create on paper.  I've also written about how to keep them in that world.  Character voice and character revelation are just means of creating that world.

The proper use of character voice allows you to identify and enhance characters to ingrain them in your readers' minds.  This also becomes an important study in how to introduce and describe characters.  For example, whatever you do, don't introduce a gaggle of main characters all at once.  This is one of the best ways to lose your readers and ruin their reading experience.  An experienced writer will introduce characters one at a time or in threes at the most.  If you introduce more than one character at a time, you must ensure they are significantly different.

I'd recommend you introduce one new character per scene.  When you must bring in more than one character in a scene, very carefully introduce each character with strong description and stronger introductions.  Here are the character introductions from Aegypt:

Mr. Audrey.” Paul clasped the Englishman’s hand as he dismounted.

Lionel Audrey was a medium-height man with thinning brown hair. He wore a heavy wool suit, but he had removed the coat. Perspiration salted his brow and made his face glisten. Audrey
looked young, but his eyes were surrounded by wrinkles. He squinted out from under his thick glasses as if the glass wasn’t the right prescription, or as if he sought to penetrate further than just the surface. In spite of this impression, Audrey’s attitude was breezy and facile. He didn’t speak; he lectured in an arrogant Oxford accent.
Paul tossed the reigns of l’Orage to Sergeant le Boehm, then turned
toward the Sergeant and spoke in French. “Take the troops, Sergeant le
Boehm. Double rations and open the commissary.”
Oui, mon Lieutenant.” Sergeant le Boehm wheeled his horse and
 headed for the fort’s entrance.
“Mr. Audrey,” Paul said again, “it is indeed a pleasure to meet you.
I thought no one would come to investigate this thing I have found in
the desert.”
“When Sir Barot told me of your find,” Audrey said, “it was all I
could do to keep from coming immediately. Oxford had to be
convinced, however, but Sir Barot said you were good as your word.”
One of the Europeans behind Audrey cleared his throat.
“Pardon me,” Audrey apologized, “I have not completed the
introductions. This—” he pointed to a small, deeply tanned Frenchman
in a fresh white suit and a Panama hat—“is Monsieur Claude Parrain.
He is an emissary of your government representing the Academie des
Sciences department of archeology and antiquities.”
"Bonjour, Lieutenant Bolang, your reputation precedes you.” He shook Paul’s hand. “I am directly responsible to the Foreign Bureau in Tunis. My job is to represent the interests of our government in this exploration.” He wiped his neck with an already damp handkerchief.
“Whatever may be found belongs to France, and I must see all protocol
is adhered to.”
Paul knew Parrain as a career bureaucrat. The little man’s smile
was tinged with irony, and he watched Paul with a curious stare, a
blend of pity and apathy. He knew the circumstances at Fort Saint, and
his manner insinuated a level of conspiracy outside of his responsibility.
Parrain was a minor official in cultural affairs; he had no official
knowledge of the Legion’s operations and little of classical archeology.
Paul kept his features bland. Parrain still had some authority over the
use of French property. He was not a man Paul wanted to antagonize
Before Audrey could introduce him, the third European stepped
forward and engulfed Paul’s hand in his own. His accent was a thick
Scottish brogue, which Paul had trouble deciphering, but he made out,
“Aye, Lieutenant, glad to meet you. Now we can get to work. I’m James
Williams, Engineer on this project.” Williams had a radiant, almost
burnished, scarlet complexion. Later, Paul would discover that the
sunburn was perpetual and never turned into a tan. Williams had
worked in Africa for years—right out of the mines of Scotland, and he
could curse in more tongues than Paul could speak. His confident
demeanor advertised his competence, and to Paul that reduced the
coarseness of his voice and features.

In this scene, I introduce three primary characters in the published novel, Aegypt. Notice that each man gets his own description, introduction, and has specific markers, mannerisms, and characteristic that are unique to him. I'll posit this as a proper example of how to introduce multiple characters in a novel. To introduce a single character, simply do the same once. There isn't much difference except you must ensure with multiple characters, they are separately identified.

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:, and the individual novel websites:,,,,, and

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