Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The voices, the voices!

As writers, it's pretty much a given that we'd have voices in our heads. Some of them are louder than others, and some remain with you for longer, but you always have at least one person talking in your head that's not you. Especially considering that fictional characters tend to be some of the pushiest little BEEPs on the planet.

I mean, how much ruder can you get? There you are plugging away on Manuscript A that you've been writing for 6 years off and on and off again, and then some new voice pops into your head for an entirely different story. How dare that new character not wait for their turn until you're ready for them to start talking? Amirite?

There currently exist seven character voices in my head -- upwards of two dozen if you count subsidiary characters -- with three groups of two existing in the same story but telling it from different perspectives. The interesting part comes when I decide which voice's story to start working on. Two of them have been with me for about 10 years now in various incarnations, through roughly a dozen name and personality and story changes, and are currently patiently awaiting me to finish writing their three-book saga.

Two more are the MC and villain of CALLARION AT NIGHT (yes, I write from the villain's perspective in that book). CaN also has the distinction of being the world that I draw a number of short stories from. I picked that world over the three-book saga fantasy one simply because it's the newer of the two and thus more readily in my head.

Another two are the heroes of the round robin story I'm writing with Theresa Meyers, Ren Cummins, Kent Gooch, and Anabel Portillo. One of those is a sky pirate and the other is the airship captain charged with capturing her. Yes, it's a steampunk romance novel.

And the seventh and final voice in my head is the heroine from PURITY DISTILLED. Her story is the one I want to finish first because she's a) the strongest voice right now and b) that story ends up being the shortest out of the four.

But that's not the point. Nay, my point rather is that there's a simple way to deal with the plethora of voices we writers have in our heads. And that method is called The Notebook!

No, not the Nicholas Sparks story (I swear he writes the same book every time, but that's beside the point). I'm talking about having a handy notebook nearby that you can jot down notes in whenever a new voice starts talking to. My "notebook" is a file I save on my Google Docs account. There's 6 different story ideas in there already, all of them Steampunk, along with main characters and skeletal plot points for each piece. Whenever a new voice starts speaking, I open that file and write it down so I can go on my merry way and attempt to finish the current piece I'm working on.

How do you deal with the voices?

1 comment:

Linda G. said...

I drink. (KIDDING! Sorta.)

Nah, I keep an Ideas File, sub-divided by story ideas and characters. Helps me keep my thoughts organized.