The Voices in Your Head

I’d like to welcome guest blogger Edie Ramer to my blog today. She has a new book out!

A big thank you to Melanie for having me as her guest today! I’m going to talk about the voices in my head, and I think Melanie has a few in hers, too. All writers should have them. One of the best compliments I got about Cattitude was that the characters were easy to tell apart and they all had different voices. It’s something I worry about, so I’m so glad that in this book they were distinct.

Did you catch “in this book” in the previous sentence? Now you know my paranoia. It’s true that with some characters I get a real sense of their voices from the beginning. Others I work hard to make them different, and hope I succeed.

With Cattitude, that was never a problem. I heard their voices in my head right from the first chapter. Especially Belle the cat. Her voice was unique and came easy. I knew what she would think and I knew what she would say. That’s not to say the book came easy, just her voice.

In my release party blog, I talked about a book in which my English springer spaniel switched bodies with the hero. That didn’t work out well. My dog was a lovable goofball and I stayed true to her voice — which was not the normal hero’s voice. But it was the voice I heard in my head.

After Cattitude, I co-wrote a book with a friend. She and I were in a critique group of 8 strong women with unique voices. We used 6 of these voices. Knowing them so well, it wasn’t hard to make them distinct – and it was a lot of fun. I also had the voice of a celebrity reporter, and both my friend and I were astonished at my snarky voice. I hadn’t known I had that in me. I must have a place inside me where I store these weird voices, because all I had to do was start to write and it flowed out of me.

At one time I was thinking of writing a story of a heroine with Asperger syndrome. I told my critique partners that I knew her voice. I knew I could write it. What I didn’t know and haven’t found was a plot worthy of her. Yet. Someday it will come to me and I’ll be able to write her story.

I’ve been talking about the voices I can do, but alpha heroes aren’t one of them. In a couple books, I’ve had guys with more testosterone than my dog has dog hair, and I struggle to get under their skin, to find their voice. I do better with heroes who have quirks and oddities and show up with a whole bunch of damage. A bit of whimsy is good, too, for my heroes and my heroines.

You have voices in your head, I know you do. A writer friend told me she did crotchety old men and women really well. Which ones do you struggle with? Which ones come easy?

Edie Ramer!/profile.php?id=747112424



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10 responses to “The Voices in Your Head

  1. LaDonna

    Hey Edie, I love those voices that manage to find us and swirl around in our heads too! Since I follow a character’s voice, not outline, they’re pretty distinct from the get-go. The times I pushed or tried to change one, were the times the voices quieted. Goes to show, they have an attitude too I guess. lol All in all, when a character chooses me to tell a tale I’ll give it my all. Old or young, I really love them all.

  2. Hey Edie,
    I admit that most of my voices sound the same in my head. BUT BUT BUT, I work hard at getting very unique flavors into their ON PAGE voice. One trick I learned was using a casual word for one character (dialogue & introspcetion) and never using it with the other. As the reader, it’s a way to immediately identify the character that uses the word — i.e.: like, just, only. Simple words, but they can really make a character’s voice shine.


  3. LaD, your voice is pitch perfect with your characters. You have a real feel for the southern characters, especially the women.

  4. Angi, that’s a great idea! Thanks for the tip!

  5. Edie, wonderful post. Melanie, thanks for hosting Edie, and congratulations on Cattitudes. I now have my copy! Wahooo. I think my major problem is I do women and secondary characters well, but men … okay… I find them hard to get inside their heads and be true to their character and not write them as a woman would write them… Does that make sense?

  6. Donnell, what you say makes perfect sense to me. I think that’s why I can’t get into a hero’s head. Now, if he has a quirk … then that’s different. lol

    And I really appreciate your support. Soon it will be your turn, I know it.

  7. Of course I have voices inside my head. I’d be lonely without them. They are insistent and stubborn beyond belief.

  8. Mary, that’s true. We are never alone. Even as a kid, I had the voices in my head.

  9. Edie, I agree the more in character you are the better the reader will connect with your story. The one thing I always do with my characters is make them laugh at themselves…to not take themselves so seriously. When the voices talk to me, I can actually picture the character in the room with me. I know non writers think we need meds.

    Great blog. The Asperger character really sounds intriguing. Hurry up and write it.

    And like Donnell, I can’t wait to read my copy of Cattitude.

  10. My heroines tend to be opinionated and a little defensive. Okay, a lot defensive. They’re usually in denial about choices they’ve made–which is why they need to change their lives. I’ve got one heroine in an upcoming book (she’s a secondary character in my debut book) who, for want of a better word, is a little fey, sends off vibes that she’s a waif, and yet she’s utterly strong and kick-ass at her core. I can’t wait to dive into her, because I feel like I’ll be meeting a totally new person. I love that about writing!

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