Fear in Writing: What's my style? What's his voice?

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's my style? What's his voice?

I'm still finding the voice of my MC.  And it feels like it's taking forever!  I have outlines and character sketches and scenes galore--but not yet do I have the correct style down.

Sure, it can be said that this is the struggle of any First Novel attempt.  Who knows their voice for certain on their first work? But still...

Did your characters' voices come easily to you?  Did your writing style jump out like a puppy on Christmas morning?  Or did you have to search?

Can't go much deeper this morning.  Lucky to get a post out at all!  And here's a bit of Christmas cheer from my family to yours:

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get kids to smile. :)


  1. Are you writing in first person? Could you switch to 3rd and see if it helps to tell the story with your own voice? I know that's a lot of extra work, though...

  2. In short stories and essay, voice is not a problem. In my first novel attempt, I'm having a heck of a time!
    Kids smiling in a pic -- not an option. I've got pictures that look more like pain.

  3. Michele - What a beautiful 'photo of all you! I love it :-). I have to say I'm spoiled about finding one's voice, so to speak. My MC is a male, so I often ask my husband for reality checks on my MC's way of talking. I'm fortunate to have a wonderful husband who's both supportive and honest about what works and doesn't in my writing.

  4. I know I'm not a professional writer, but I am something of a character so maybe I could help in that respect.

    I think the best characters come from exaggerations on people we know. Try to find someone who is vaguely like the character you're writing and call them up (or if you want some physical mannerisms meet them for lunch) and pick out some of things you like about them. The rest I think you'll figure out as you go and put the character into situations where something about them is revealed.

  5. Your son looks just like your husband and your daughter looks just like you. They are smiling lovely.

    As for the character's voice. It easy for some and more difficult for others. I need to find ways to make them sound realistic and that often takes watching shows with similar characters or just having conversations with them.


  6. I'm still searching. I started writing 1st person and got stuck. Then I swapped to 3rd person, and found that easier. Now I play around with double POV (still 3rd person). That's both challenging and fun, since I can experiment with POV in two completely different personalities. It kind of builds experience twice as fast >:)

    Sweet picture. Is it easy to get you to smile, Michele?

    Cold As Heaven

  7. The best projects, I've found, are those where you hear the protag first, and he/she tells you the story. It's like good schizophrenia for writers. I know that having that voice before story has led to some of my better creations.

    However, when I struggle with a voice (most often my secondary characters), I single that character out and put them in the most stressful situation I can. Generally, an argument. Then I write that scene. I don't know why, but the high emotional impact of an argument really makes voices shine for me.

    For example, have a teen get into a fight with the parent who grounds her. Have a wife lose her cool with the husband who leaves dirty dishes about the house. Have a criminal blow up at the cop who arrests her.

    Write the scene. Let the voice speak for itself. It's worked for me, hope it works for you!

    Scribbler to Scribe

  8. Cute family, Michele!
    And I'm still working on that voice thing...

  9. Aww! They're so cute!
    As for voices, I tend not to struggle much with that, it just comes naturally. Plotting, on the other hand...

  10. Those kids look like they're straining so hard to smile! Cute though. :)

    I probably spent a good 2 years finding the voices of my characters. It was pretty brutal...