I’m trying to figure out how to make my three first-person narrators sound like three different people. Maybe typing out some of my thoughts will help:
What do they each sound like when they talk? Who uses more long, rambling sentences or more short ones?
Who are they each telling this story to and why?
Which of them tends to look beneath the surface of his or her own motivations? What about others’ motivations?
What things interest each of them most? How does this govern what details they notice in the world?
What sense(s) do they each rely on most? Or rather, what stimulants are they each most sensitive to?
Who/what do they each believe is or should be in control of the world (God, nature, herself/himself, other people)?
How would they each define themselves? How does this color their perceptions of others?
How do any or all of the above answers change as they mature in the course of the story?
What markers (themes, repeated words, etc.) can I use for each narrator to clue readers in quickly when I switch? Sometimes a chapter break doesn’t seem to be enough on its own.
I think if I can answer these questions for each narrator, I’ll be a lot further toward distinct voices than I am now.
What are your thoughts? How do you deal with multiple narrators within the same story?
At the end of Camp NaNoWriMo, I had a conundrum. My Camp project was 50,000 words long, but several chapters shy of “The End.” Meanwhile, I had a mostly-finished fourth draft of another story to finish up, which I’d set aside for the month of April. And upon picking that up once more, I realized it was going to need more than a quick read-through to finalize the draft.
What to work on?
Raven’s story was begging to be finished so I could start querying agents and trying to get it published, yet if I were to put Lia’s story away, losing all my excitement and momentum, I knew I might not get back to it for a long, long time.
Working on both simultaneously also wasn’t looking good. I have to turn on super-editing-mode at this point with Raven, and getting the editor to shut up when I want to pump out a first draft was causing Lia’s story to stall out.
(Not to mention they take place in different universes, with different cultures and magic systems. Lia’s story alone contains three distinct magic systems and three different narrators.)
After whining about it to my writing buddy Whitney, I came to a decision. I’ll let Raven sit and stew a little longer. After all, it didn’t hurt him during April. I’m going to stop being lazy and sprint for the end of Lia’s story with NaNoWriMo-esque speed.
Happy Yarning! (<–my battle cry)
What creative conundrums have you faced and vanquished lately?