Monday, October 13, 2014

Advice For Writers #6: Voice In Multiple POVs

Hey! Alex Steele here today to talk about the dreaded multiple POVs.
I think one of the things we all dread is that character voice. 
How do I write in a different voice? How do I distinguish between multiple POVs? I, for one, suck at this. I feel I'm getting better, learning, but it's still something that is hard for me as a writer. 

So, I wanted to share with you a couple tips I have come up with over the last week, while revising FriendZone, which is told in alternating POVs between Seth and Lily. To just kind of share my process. Which is slightly unconventional, maybe?

For Starters - I don't worry about it right away. I do my normal outlining and character development, where I write down the basics: hair and eye color, nationality, age, height, personality traits, likes/dislikes. Just everything I can think of to get to know my character and their personal (and physical) journeys in the book. I don't even think about voice for the most part, at this stage.

Write - I write my first draft. I don't think about voice. I get to know my characters even more while being inside their heads, and maybe their voice starts to become more apparent towards the middle and the end, but I'm still not focusing on that. Because If I do, I know all my doubts will kick in, and I won't make it to the end of the book.

Edits - After I complete my first draft, I let it sit for a week and then I read through it all. Doing small edits, taking note of plot holes and character development flaws. This is where I start to consider voice. How different do my characters sound? What can I change to make them sound unique?

Revising and Focus On Voice - Generally, I have one character who sounds like themselves and then the other characters who are, essentially, mimicking that character. So I make a list, of things that these characters have in common and the ways that they are different. Even the smallest thing can help me see how they would talk and think differently and this is the kind of thing you want to use to differentiate these characters voices. It's all in the way they see things (one character may be super observant while another is too wrapped up in their own lives to see a car heading straight for them). The way they think (chaotic and messy, jumping from one thought to the next, or orderly and concise). Even the way they talk and stand: Are they leaning? Or standing up straight?

Then I answer this series of questions for each character (I found this on Fiction University they have all kinds of useful information and tips)

How much does this character notice about the world around them?

What are the kinds of things they’d notice?
What do they think about?
What types of words best fit or exemplify their personalities?
What type of sentence structure best fits them?
What is their dialog like?
How can you capture that same dialog feel in their internalization?

So that it basically my process for developing voice in multiple POVs, and in even single POV too. After that, in revisions, I focus on developing their voices, using the answers to all these questions.

SO I hope that this maybe gave you at least a small idea of how you might work on developing voice in multiple POV and Grace will be here next week with some more advice!

Write on, write on.

-Alex Steele

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