Wednesday, September 08, 2010
While working on novels it's common to write in many characters' "voices". I mean, your MC has to interact with someone(s), right? And those other characters can range from a trolley car operator to (these days) a hybrid vampire/zombie/werewolf to a 2nd grade bully on the school playground. Even though you as the writer still maintains your own writing style, your own voice, these new ones you're channeling need to go over the top of it like icing on a cake.
All these characters are not YOU, but because you're the one making them up, then they ARE you. Oh, my head. It can feel a little confusing at times.
I am a born eavesdropper. And that got me into trouble when I was a kid. I often heard the phrase "Little pitchers have big ears" before all that interesting adult conversation went silent and I was sent to my room - again. But now that I'm all grown up and stuff, that eavesdropping super power is a big help when creating voices in my writing.
It's amazing how differently different people speak. And I'm not even talking about the use of different languages or even strong accents in the English language. Some people speak in clear, full sentences. Some people jump around in their speech, using lots of sentence fragments. Some people are "hesitators", using an "uh" or "um" here and there. And that's just the style of their speaking, not the content which can range from dated to wildly profane. People, you gotta love 'em.
But lately I'm dealing with a different way of portraying different voices. For the project I'm working on now I'm DRAWING in two voices. And this has been a challenge. Way back in the olden days when I started out as a fine artist I was recognized pretty quickly because I had such a distinctive style (or drawing voice). My work, whether I was using my signature oil pastels, or pen and ink, or paint all still looked like I did it. But now, I have to coat my artistic voice with a big old shovel full of icing.
And eavesdropping in the real world doesn't really help me here. I can't skulk around the mall or the post office or the grocery store or downtown spying on what different people are drawing.
So I'm left with eavesdropping on the characters I've created for this particular story. I have use what I imagine I know about these people to try to draw like they would. And it doesn't help that they're from different decades or that they're different genders either. Oh, my head...
I've posted a few of my first sketches at the top of the page. They're still in my voice. But hopefully they're NOT too.