voices not your own

I suffer from character ADD. And when I say I suffer, I mean that it’s awesome, and don’t ever try to change me.

I’ve been putting together a tentative event list for the entire series – y’know, getting ideas on paper, making sure I have enough material for 5 books (I totally do). It’s got me thinking about all the different narrators I’ll get to use as I move forward, and I have to admit I’m pretty excited.

It’s the standard for these sorts of novels to write from just one perspective. You’ve got your main character that you follow around, he/she is either in first or third person, and their head is pretty much the only head you get to see inside. I’ve tried, in the past, to adhere to this industry standard, and I think it’s part of why I haven’t been able to write a book til now. (Not the major reason, but I think it hampered me as a teen.)

I cannot stick to one character’s POV for a long period of time. I will get insanely bored and ultimately lose interest in the project. To me, there’s too many awesome things happening in multiple places to multiple people, and one character isn’t enough to show you all the angles I want you to see. As far as I’m concerned, one character can’t be present for ALL important events. This is why I’m doing 3 narrators. Each one has access to a different set of events and each one has their own social circle, that overlap in places. So ultimately, only the reader gets to see the entire puzzle, as each narrator works on the corner they live in. I really like this setup. I feel like it engages you more as a reader, when you know things the narrator doesn’t.

The narrator will be like “I’ma go in that cave” and you, reading, will go “OH GOD NO the other guy rigged it with explosives two chapters ago! GET OUUUUUUT” even as you’re following this unknowing sap into the cave. You can create some very unique suspense this way.

I also really enjoy the opportunity to speak in a different voice. Each successive book is going to have its own set of 3 narrators, and I’ve been having a lot of fun working on developing an individualized sound for each of them. I really want them to feel distinct from one another, to the point that you could read a page and just know by the way they’re talking, without looking at the chapter title, whether the narrator is Mac or Camille or Jul. I’m already eagerly looking forward to having a completely different set for book 2. Well, not completely different. Mac is still one of them. He’s a bit central to the plot. But he’s probably one of my favorite narrators I’ve ever made, and he’ll be going through a lot in book 2 so it’ll keep things fresh.

Back to plotting. And scheming, I guess.

/cast iPod [Frightened Rabbit – The Modern Leper]