19 January 2011

Rupert's Voice

            At some point in the past week I have become unhappy with how “Rupert” is developing, both as a book and as a character.  I am roughly half way through my first draft, and the past couple thousand words have felt forced and lacking…something.  I finally realized yesterday what that something was- Rupert’s lost his voice. 
            Or more correctly, I’ve lost his voice.
            I read “Island of the Blue Dolphins” this week and was completely blown away by the voice Scott O’dell creates for his main character, Karana.  I completely believed I was reading the thoughts and experiences of this girl, that every word he wrote was not a word but a moment.  After reading this book, it hit me that while writing, I completely bulldozed over telling his story and was more concerned with having a finished product.
            Karana, from “Island of the Blue Dolphins” showed me that it’s time for me to spend some quality time with Rupert outside of the story I think I want to tell.

            Every piece of writing has a different voice, this is what makes every book interesting and unique.  I could write a story on- let’s say dogs- and so could you.  Even if we both wrote on exactly the same dog the stories would turn out completely different.  This is because of the voice we would write through.
Voice is influenced by personality, experience, color, and tone.  The voice of writing changes for every piece of writing someone creates.  Perhaps this is why I have begun to test different styles of writing, so I am able to develop my own voice further.

            Here is a good example of what I don’t know about Rupert and definitely should for me to write his voice:
            Rupert’s parents are away on a very long trip and he lives with his aunt.  I told this fact to Cale and he, of course, asked why he wasn’t with them.  All I could do was shrug and say, I don’t know.  I know where his parents are and what they are doing, but I have no idea why they did not bring him with.  This is probably very important and is definitely something that would affect a real child!

            Even if I know my own personal voice, that certainly doesn’t mean I know Rupert’s.  Rupert is the filter through which I tell the story.  It is definitely time for me to sit back, learn who he is, and get out of the way so he can tell his story through my fingers.

1 comment:

  1. Now this is very, very good: knowing more about your character (much more about your character) than you ever need to let the reader know. So even if you know more about Rupert, his relationship with his parents AND why he was sent to his aunt's, it doesn't mean that you need to tell every detail to the readers. They might not NEED to know. But, if YOU know about who Rupert is, then you will be able to write in his true voice: to me that means, writing the voice of the storyteller and characters in a way that is authentic, believable, true and consistent, and is winning to the heart and mind of the reader, who then is easily and completely won over that what they read could or did actually happen just the way it is told... that what they are reading is true, indeed. Nice discovery... or rather, nice new journey to set out upon, my dear.