Creating unique voices for multiple POV characters – and how to show their emotions
by Lisa Hall-Wilson - Canada
So excited to have Aiki Flinthart on the blog today. I’m recovering from knee surgery and Aiki generously stepped in for me and is sharing about creating unique characters. Aiki describes every pantser’s nightmare below, *grin* but don’t panic. You would go through all the same steps to pants your way through this, you’d just do it through a first draft and a lot of rewriting.
Be sure to check out Aiki’s book for writers (I’ve already ordered mine):
As authors, we all know that she who makes the reader cry, wins. If a reader connects strongly to your character, then they will react emotionally to the character’s conflicts.
But, for many genres, it’s not the external conflict the reader gets caught up in – it’s the internal conflict; the character’s feelings about what’s happening. That’s where the treasure lies.
So how do we ensure the reader cries when we want them to? Or laughs? Or gets angry?
By creating characters the reader identifies with in some way. Then showing how that character reacts, so the reader can easily imagine themselves in the story.
A Personal Challenge
A couple of years ago I wanted to improve my ability to write unique character voices, in close first person POV, with deep emotional connections for the readers.
Sounds good, huh?
Yep. Except that I like to make things hard for myself and chose to create a mosaic novel – a collection of intertwined short stories that all advance an overarching narrative.
But wait! It gets trickier.
Set in 1486 London, Blackbirds Sing consists of 24 short stories, each from a DIFFERENT woman’s POV. Each story is stand-alone, but also interlinked with the larger narrative (someone trying to kill Henry VII). And various POV characters pop in and out of each other’s stories for continuity.
One of my readers has called it the literary equivalent of a quadruple back somersault.
It certainly wasn’t easy.
And the hardest part was creating so many unique voices, unique backgrounds, and unique emotional reactions to conflicts. Twenty-four different characters that people cared about enough to cry over in just 4500-word short stories! Sheer madness.
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