Voice is paramount in literary fiction. Publishing houses and agents are always yapping about finding original voices and whatnot. I couldn’t agree more. Your narrative voice channels your story, leads your readers to know your characters, and takes the dryness out of your writing. A good narrative voice thrives on creativity.
It took me years to be able to separate myself from my characters’ voices (not that you have to, Kerouac, H.S. Thomson et al.) Even now with full knowledge of what’s being written, my characters’ voices are unmistakably relative to my own. Only through years of crappy writing did I get comfortable with the simple idea that my characters are my children, not me, but they have been endowed with some of my traits, naturally. Even with all the effort to separate yourself from your narrative, people who know you and read your work will inevitably hear your voice for a bit if not all of the time, not a big deal really. I got over it.
I can’t write anything in my character’s voice until November 1st, that would be cheating under my perception of the rules. So I’m developing it completely in my head.
- First person omniscient – I might have to justify this voice later, but I know that this form gives me the most power over knowledge of other characters, I won’t have to explain why Baldur knows the intimate thoughts of other characters until the end. After all, it is fiction so you can do whatever the hell you want.
- Past tense mainly – I will have a few excerpts in present tense, but these will be limited emotionally charged anecdote.
- Baldur will not, in diction, speak taboo words, but this won’t apply to his narrative, e.g. he’ll explain why certain words are taboo
- I want Baldur to be sensitive and nice but with a contradictory edge that will make the reader question him, he does have a history of being insensitive
- Lots of idioms and word explanations, this will be tricky –has to be done right to not be boring
- Never self-loathing, revels in his optimal circumstances even when things get bad he takes full responsibility of his choices (this gets into philosophy which I’ll discuss another day)
- He has two main abstract desires. To be understood, and for everyone to understand each other. The latter is impossible, but he, through his drunken misconceptions of reality, thinks that he can offer the world a solution for peace. A way back to mortal Eden or Paradise(more on this later, this is the Gordian knot of Baldur’s psychology and deserves its own blog post.)
- I need Baldur to slowly expose his megalomania, at some point he should compare himself as a cross between Alexander the Great and Jesus Christ
Tomorrow I will make a Ten Rules for Writing list compiled from other authors’ lists.