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Problems with the protagonist and voice

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Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:56 pm
Carlito says...



I've ironed out the plot, subplot, and conflict in my novel Purple and I've written a couple of versions of the opening scene. Now I'm struggling to get the overall mood or voice of the story right. See, I want this to be a deeply emotional book. I want my readers to feel all the emotions my protagonist feels and go on this huge emotional roller coaster with her, and I'm not entirely sure how to do that.

I know the general things like put her through conflict, make her relate-able, etc. but I feel like there has to be more to it than that. I think once I finish the first chapter it will get a lot easier but right now I'm kind of stuck.

Let me explain...
In the first chapter (there are only seven chapters), Cora (protagonist), is extremely lonely. It's almost as if there is a wall between her and her friends and she doesn't understand why. I understand my character and I understand loneliness because Cora is roughly based on me and many of her experiences are roughly based on my own. However, I'm having a really hard time putting this really strong, painful feeling into words and showing my readers what it's like and how painful it is to feel lonely and completely alone in the world.

So I'm guessing this is a problem with voice? Any ideas on what to do from here?

Let me know if something doesn't make sense or you need more information or anything.

Thanks much! :)

-Carly
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Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:32 pm
Rosey Unicorn says...



Write. Then post for reviews. Rewrite. Repeat.

The only way I've really found to get voice down is to write in that voice. Sometimes, you luck out and have a character who can just talk right at the start of a novel, to the point you don't need many rewrites for voice. I have, however, only met two or three authors who have this happen to them.

The trick, really, is to write it out a long way, then get feedback on what works and what doesn't. Then, go through the novel again and see it there way. I say "write it out a long way" because you have to get deep enough into a voice it's somewhat consistent. If you just write small segments and keep rewriting them for voice, you'll never get anywhere because it takes awhile to get used to a character's voice. It makes scrapping and rewriting all the more painful, because you're rewriting so much more, but it is worth it.

So, for now, just write. It'll sound wrong for awhile, but keep going until you hit a good grove in the voice. Once you've hit that grove, stay in it for awhile and keep going forward in plot. It means you've gotten used to your characters and can actually go back to the beginning and see if that voice works. If it doesn't, you rewrite what that you have and see if that's any better.

Basically, it's just lots and lots of time.
A writer is a world trapped in a person— Victor Hugo

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Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:35 pm
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Snoink says...



Let yourself suck. Write absolute crap. Everyone is terrible at the first draft. It's only with revision does t ever get better. And you learn a lot from messing up.
Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.

"The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly." ~ Richard Bach

Moth and Myth <- My comic! :D




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Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:35 pm
Snoink says...



Let yourself suck. Write absolute crap. Everyone is terrible at the first draft. It's only with revision does t ever get better. And you learn a lot from messing up.
Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.

"The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly." ~ Richard Bach

Moth and Myth <- My comic! :D




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Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:46 pm
Carlito says...



Thanks guys. Snoink, that's what I did for the first draft and it did suck. 128,000 words of very little conflict. The whole thing is a complete mess :) I want the 2nd draft to be much better and worth letting another soul read :)
Formally tnme22!

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Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:50 am
Snoink says...



It'll be better! I bet you learned a lot from the old one. ;)
Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.

"The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly." ~ Richard Bach

Moth and Myth <- My comic! :D




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Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:52 am
Rosey Unicorn says...



I had about 10 drafts of suck. Then I got decent. xD Really, the only way to figure everything out is to practise.
A writer is a world trapped in a person— Victor Hugo

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Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:28 am
creativityrules says...



Hi! Rose here!

Sometimes it helps to build a very detailed outline. When I say detailed, I mean down to the things that cause the thoughts your character is having. If you know why your character thinks what she does, you'll be able to describe it better.

After the outline, write out a rough draft of what you want your character to say. Print it out or write it on a piece of paper and go back to it every few hours. That way, you'll have a fresh mind every time you look at it. You'll pick up on little things that you couldn't see before; you'll also come up with new ways to say what you want your character to say.

Also, using a thesaurus helps me quite a bit. I look up synonyms for the emotions that I want my character to have; although I don't always use the words that I look up, I'm often inspired to use different, fresh words that I might not have thought of otherwise.

Finally, listening to music always helps me. Whatever emotions you want your character to have, try listening to music with the same vibe. It will put your mind into a different state and help you put your character's thoughts on paper.

Hope this helped! Always keep writing!

-Rose
“...it's better to feel the ache inside me like demons scratching at my heart than it is to feel numb the way a dead body feels when you touch it."

-Brian James