07 March 2016

Jordan Takes Over (Except Not...): New Characters, New Voices

**The first Monday of every month, I let my muse take over the blog. Except this month. This month, he didn't feel like it. He felt like sleeping. And since I've been writing a useless thing from Adam's point of view (aka Wannabe-Muse-2), Jordan told him to do it. I have no control over these things. So fine! Take it away, Adam...**

Wait, what do I do? No one told me what to do!

Jordan is sleeping and Sarah is glaring at me. I don't think she likes me. Well, ok, that's not true. She loves me but she really wants to hate me. Is that even a thing? Like hate to love, love to hate? Love but want to hate? Never heard of that. Sarah didn't want me to take over. It was Jordan's idea. Well, because he wanted to keep sleeping. He's so cute when he's sleeping! Uh-oh, Sarah's tapping her foot now. She didn't want me to write this post because apparently I "don't have a voice yet." Mostly because "nothing will ever be published from my POV." And anything written from my POV is "complete self-indulgent cutesy crap." Or something.

I guess I could talk about writers being totally mean to their characters, but I won't (I think Jordan could handle that topic better). But lets talk about having a voice. Voice is one of those things that a character needs, whether the story is written from that character's perspective or not. Every time a character speaks, you want that person to feel real. Not every character should sound exactly the same. That would get pretty boring.

So when you are writing from a character's point of view, it's even more important for that voice to be unique. First of all, you don't want your novel to sound like a textbook. If you're using first person, you want that character's voice to actually seem like a real person is telling the story. Their choice of words should reflect who they are and how they react to what's happening to them. And if you write a new book with different characters, you'll want it to sound different.

But sometimes you've got a new character. And you haven't quite figured everything out about him. Take me, for example. I still don't have a last or middle name, eye color, or a proper description of my hair, apparently. I don't know what the big deal is, it's just hair. But anyway, I'm also lacking pretty much all of my backstory. But that's ok. New characters are never going to be 100% complete when you first think of them. It takes time to sort out all those details, figure out what will work for the character and for the story.

The same can be said for voice. It isn't going to come to you right away. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be writing. Like all of those other details, eventually it will sort itself out. Once you start writing as that character, eventually how he speaks will start to feel more natural. You'll know exactly what he'd say about a situation. The most important things you can do are to keep thinking and keep writing. And eventually those new characters won't seem so new anymore.

I'm being told this is just a one time thing, since I will "never ever be an actual muse." So I promise I'll wake Jordan up for next month's post. Mostly because I don't want Sarah to yell at me...Bye!


  1. Voice is hard to come by. It's like trying to remember a song sometimes where all you have is one or two words from the lyrics.

  2. "writers being totally mean to their characters" That made me chuckle. Creating a new voice for each character is tricky. You really have to look at them as different people and flesh them out more before you try.

  3. Good day to read this. I'm struggling to get my current protagonist voice right because she's so far removed from the type of person I am.

  4. You never know - Adam could be back.
    Voice is something that takes a long time to figure out.

  5. Love it when the voice is in my head. That way the character can come to the page without a lot of angst from this writer. When a character doesn't talk to me, I get scared.

  6. Actually, I think you got Adam's voice. That first paragraph was quite unique from Jordan's voice or from when you post as yourself. The rest flowed nicely in Adam's voice too.

  7. My muse, Cate, would like you to know, Adam, that "love to hate, hate to love, love but want to hate" is most definitely a thing.

    Nice post, Adam, hope you find your voice, and that we see you again some time.

  8. I love having my characters' voices in my head. It's even better when they start out that way. Sometimes, I have to let them mold their own dialogue, or they all sound like me.

  9. Hi Adam! Nice to meet you!

    There are some voices I have down pat, and others I'm still figuring out. Oddly enough, I'm better at guys' voices than I am girls. Unless it's Cera. Cera is so natural for me, it scares me.

  10. Don't worry about a lack of backstory, Jordan. That stuff will get all worked out once the plot takes over.

  11. I like Adam.

    I've always found that actually writing a character is one of the best ways to get a feel for his/her personality and voice. :-)