CHANGING VOICES

My last assignment of the year is submitted and so my attention turns to my real distraction – Postcards from a Stranger.

For those of you don’t know, this is my latest novel and the one that I’ve decided not to pack away in a virtual drawer. Having commissioned an editor’s report on why it isn’t yet a best seller, I am now armed with all I need to magically transform it into one. Well… that’s the plan at least.

So my next task is to start to tell parts of the story from another character’s point of view. This is all well and good. Telling her story is one thing. Deciding HOW she’ll tell it is quite another.

It’s not that I don’t know Anneliese Ferensby. She’s been in my head for over a year now and she’s even spoken out loud from time to time. I know quite a lot about her, enough to be able to write it all down but what does she sound like? How does she string her sentences together? How does her mind work?  And, most importantly, how is she different from her daughter Cara who has been doing all the talking for the last 85,000 words?!

These are big questions and ones that I need to get right at this stage as my hands hover over the keyboard waiting to begin.

And it’s not just her voice that I need to find but also how I, as the writer, should express that for her. First person or third? Past tense or present? In her head only or floating above her and watching her every move? I read voraciously, trying to absorb every writers’s techniques and skill. This influences how I approach my work. It’s not Oasis and The Beatles exactly but what I read does make me think about how I’m writing.

I started yesterday – 815 words, third person, past tense, omniscient narrator. I’m not sure it’s right so today I’m going to rewrite what I have differently and see if I feel any more confident. It won’t come overnight, Anneliese’s voice, but at least if I set off in approximately the right direction it won’t be so difficult to rediscover the path when the snows come.

Anyway, I’ll let you know how I get on…..

Imogen.

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