A novel approach – hearing voices

So I’ve got three main characters in my novel. One is a little more low-key, but we follow the story arcs of the other two more closely. Eventually the three arcs meet. This leaves me with two very prominent characters to bring to life. I’ve done mind-maps about them, I’ve considered their characters, their backgrounds and the influence of their respective childhoods. What I was struggling to do was to hear the characters themselves.

I’ve written first drafts of passages introducing each of the characters. The first was in my normal sparse style. For the second I worked a little on the idea of psychic distance, and started with an overview of the scene and then zoomed in, to provide a description (something I’m really bad at remembering to do) and then looking more closely at the character and what she thought.

Then I decided to try a different approach. I wrote the same two passages again, but in the first person instead of third person. Suddenly I could hear their voices much more clearly, see how they reacted to things, what they thought about them and felt much more in touch with them.

I probably won’t write the whole novel in first person, although it is an option, with each chapter told by a different character. I do think that would limit me a little, but it’s an exercise I can try every now and again if I feel I’m losing the sound of their voices.

Meanwhile I need to look at the aeon timeline and my scrivener file ready for Friday’s nanowrimo start, making sure that the scrivener file contains the skeletal structure that it needs in order to get me at least a large part of the way through the novel – always remembering that while nanowrimo is about the challenge of 50,000 words, I’m in it not just for nano but with the full intention of finishing the full draft, completing as many editing stages as needed and getting to a complete, finished and polished manuscript.

What I do with it after that? We’ll have to see.

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