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?