Friday, 1 October 2010

Coffee break: Change

When the first frosts start to creep up on us (or at least those of us in the UK!) and the leaves begin to populate the pavements, I always feel like I should be starting something new. Luckily, this year, I've just started a new job, so that works out nicely! Everything is a bit different, from my daily commute, the people I spend my days with, what I'm working on, even down to what I wear. In the midst of all this, I'm trying to carry on working on the same WIP I've had on the go for (ahem) getting on for 2 years...

When I started writing it, I was in a completely different position - practically nothing in my life is the same now! But I'm trying to keep a consistent voice, and to remember why I made particular decisions about characters and plot points way back when 'The End' was a mere glimmer in my imagination. How do you keep things moving in the same direction when everything around you is changing? Planning and keeping notes is part of it, sure, but how do you maintain a character's voice when you can feel your own changing?

11 comments:

Debs said...

Good question and congratulations on your new job.

I suppose it doesn't matter what changes are happening in one part of my life (reality) the book I'm writing still inhabits the same world it always has done. That said, characters/story does evolve each time I do a new draft, so it must rub off in some way, I suppose.

Jenny Beattie said...

Congratulations on the new job.

I have photos of two of my characters that instantly make me hear them so that helps. I also spend a bit of time reading back each day to remind me. I think the less experienced among us (me) finds that more difficult than those with more words under their belt.

Leatherdykeuk said...

The end of October singals the pagan new year, so it's time for change.

How to keep the novel's voice? Edit and revise. When you change, your experiece increases and what you wrote two years ago may no longer be true. Edit and revise.

I'm editing An Ungodly Child for possible release as a second edition and this time it has a better voice.

LilyS said...

Congrats on then new job. A good post as well, something that I should be aware of seeings as I have outdone you with the length of time spent on a wip. I started it about 3 years ago. I finished the first draft a year ago and since then it has been resting. I think I've laid the foundation of the 'character' that I guess was me some time ago so I'd like to think It will be easy to slip back into her head. We shall see.

sheepish said...

Congrats on the new job and whaqt an excellent question. I suppose for those lucky people who write at a faster pace their novels are probably all done and dusted before their own life has changed much. But for the rest of us mere mortals who take a little longer[more than two years for me] then we have to be prepared to revise and edit as Rachel says. Also hopefully our writing may improve the more words we get on the page so we have to be prepared to make changes. I too have been 'resting ' my first draft while I make a start on wip 2 so it will be interesting how I feel about it when I start draft two?

Karen said...

That's a very good question. When

I go back to my very first manuscript from around 5/6 years ago I can see that I wouldn't be able to write it the same way if I were to pick it up now - partly because my writing has got better (I hope!)

If the voice doesn't feel quite right maybe you could change it without losing the essence of your characters?

Hope the new job's going well :o)

Captain Black said...

I hope you're enjoying your new job; I could do with one of those.

Consistency? What consistency? My plots and characters change just as much as me and the world around me. Which is probably why I'm having so much trouble finishing any of my writing projects.

Denise said...

Exciting, new jobs are fun. I'm having the same problem with mine which I've been working on for 18 months. I completed the first draft, left it for about 3 months and am now struggling to recognise the voice I've used!

I'm finding this useful in a way, because I've achieved some distance from it, because it really does feel like someone else's book at points. I've also added a lot for my second draft so re-writing means I get to use my 'new' voice anyway. Not so good for a quick second draft though...

HelenMHunt said...

I think this is the main problem I had with my first novel - and one of the reasons I've temporarily abandoned it. I spent too long writing the first draft and by the time I got to the end, the beginning was unrecognisable.

I'm hoping this won't happpen with novel two, but as I'm only averaging about two thousand words a month, I can't guarantee that.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

interesting question! we do go through various personality shifts and environmental changes that inevitably alter our perceptions and the way we write. perhaps just an awareness would go a long way in keeping our voices consistent.

thanks for the thought for this therapist to chew on. :)

let me know if i can ever put some of your characters on my couch.

jeannie
the character therapist

Annieye said...

Congratulations on the new job. I find my characters evolve and grow as they grow older/wiser. Like Jenny, I try and read back whenever I can, which helps.

I can't write in the evenings, after a day's work. I find it almost impossible to switch my head into fiction mode when I get home.