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Sunday, July 26, 2009


Each character has their own voice, their own way of talking and thinking in various situations. For me, a lot of the writing at the beginning of the book has to do with finding those characters' voices. The thing that makes it so difficult is that it's situational.

The original chapter one in my Work In Progress (WIP) was in my heroine's Point of View (POV) and I had her voice. But this chapter took place when her world was almost completely ordinary.

In the original version of chapter two, the hero's voice was the one I struggled to find. I'd written the prologue in his POV, but that had been maybe a year and a half and two (or three) other heroes ago and I didn't have it when I got to his scene. Then, after much cutting and rewriting, I had him! And there was much rejoicing.

All was not well in Patti-land, though. I knew there was something wrong with what I had written in the book. I just couldn't figure out what. I added another scene to the front of chapter two, but that still didn't fix it. And then one of my writing buddies said that after the prologue, chapter one was just flat. There was nothing in the chapter that did anything for the story until the very end. She suggested I start with the scene in my hero's POV instead.

And she was right. I did what I always tell beginning writers not to do--I wrote a whole chapter explaining the story to the reader. Blah, blah, blah. While the interaction between the heroine and her friends was interesting (and helpful) for me, it had no place in the book. I cut it with barely a whimper.

This required a great deal of rewriting of the hero's first scene which was now the opening of the story. It took a few fits and starts--okay, it took a lot of fits and starts. I have more versions of chapter one for this book than I've ever written for any chapter in any book ever--but I did eventually persevere. And then an interesting problem cropped up with chapter two. I lost my heroine's voice.

I knew why. The situation had changed. Events that I saw happening at the end of the original chapter one have now already happened and that changes her actions and behavior. Plus I'm opening with her in a scene that's high stress for her anyway and really unusual.

I've been struggling and cutting and restarting this chapter over and over, too. But today I think I finally found her voice. I think I finally have keepable pages in this chapter. I think. I hope.