Many of my friends and acquaintances are currently in the midst of the sheer madness that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The goal: to write a book (yes, sir, that’s right a whole book) in (gasp) 30 days!
One concern that a participant mentioned today, and others may be feeling: After 6 days she still doesn’t feel like she has the character’s voice. That can be frustrating as it’s hard to push through when that inner voice just isn’t helping.
At some point we all rely on our characters to take over and tell us where the storyline is going and what their role in the events is (and if you’re not a writer, it’s true, we hear voices, but they tend to go away when the story is done, so don’t fear!).
So, what can you do to try an urge your character’s voices to come through. Some tips that were offered today:
- Drop your character into a completely different scenario and write what he/she is like there.
- Explore your character more: gather images (what your character looks like, where they live, a favorite pet, where is his/her saddest memory), listen to music that your character would appreciate, any details to make your character more multi-dimensional
- Write a short story of something you have done, but through the eyes of your character.
- Some people find benefit in quiet meditation with the character until they’ve reached a better knowledge of them
- Write a letter from your character to you, or your readers. Start with “My name is _____, and these are the things you need to know about my journey.”
- Continue to push forward with your manuscript but do everything from the perspective of the character you are trying to work out (if you have multiple POV or a different MC). If this is your MC include internal dialogue and reasoning as you write. It can help flesh out your character’s motivation and history, applies to your word count and can be deleted later during your edits.
Remember that anything you write during your effort to connect with your character can be included in your word count. It’s part of your process. You can delete it during revisions–at which point you’ll be more intimately connected with your character’s voice.