Voice

writing-voice (1)On Saturday, my writing critique group defined a problem I was concerned I was having — I’d lost some of the main character’s voice.

I’d been suspecting it myself and trying to justify why the character wasn’t reacting as sharply as she had in earlier scenes. But my excuses were just trying to rationalize away writing that wasn’t pointed enough.

Some of it may be fixable through more deliberate word choices. In one place, the character describes something as “squishy.” That’s an imprecise word at best. “Squishy” could be used to describe mud, a well-worn pillow or yogurt and those are three wildly different things. Coming up with a metaphor for what is squishy will help. Same thing with the word “flubbed,” used in another scene. It’s accurate, but not now the character would say it.

I also have fantasy elements in this story, so as much I’ve been trying to avoid creating a language, the group insisted I need a few more foreign words sprinkled here and there. I spent a good hour yesterday and most of this morning’s writing time inventing swear words. They were the easiest place to swap out some English for something made up. For my alternate history world, I found some good linguistic sites on the internet and have come up with some things that I think fit.

Still, I need to revisit a few chapters to make sure the character is herself throughout, no excuses for tired writing.

Voice is the thing that often gives a novel that extra edge. Looking back at a few novels I’ve read this summer, there are a couple that while good for plot and pacing, just lacked that little bit of oomph that is a well-defined voice. I want to do what I can to make the book better, so I’m creating some hrakedaela words.

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