Finding the right voice

I’m still dinking around with the start of this book.  If this were a Riyria Revelation book I would be on chapter 6 or 7 by now.  But I’m allowing myself the added time to find the right voice for this book.  Yes, I as an author have a voice, but each book does as well.  In fact, I’ve had some people read certain books of mine and they can’t believe the are written by the same person.

I think there is a sliding scale between description/introspection and plot, or at least that’s how I write my books.

  • The Burden to the Earth (my first literary fiction novel, which I’ve not published yet) has a very simple plot, but a very complicated character and for me the thrill of that book was in the construction of the prose.  I wanted people to notice it, ponder how it was composed. The visual representation I have of this reader is someone sipping a glass of wine, some classical music playing the background. I hope that their read is leisurely with frequent pauses for reflection.

  • Riyria books (my genre fantasy novels – 3 released 2 due in Aug/Sep) are just the opposite.  For those it’s all about plot and showing how the events shape the characters into various transformations. My main goal here was to make the writing invisible. To imply a simple, straightforward style that allows the events to play much like a movie in the reader’s mind. The visual here is someone eating popcorn. They are riveted to the book, unconsciously moving their hand between the bowl and their mouth. They ignore anything going on around them and it’s only after it is late at night, much later than their intended bedtime that they “wake” from the trance and notice for the first time just how much time disappeared while they were “gone.”
  • Hollow World (the book I recently finished) was a bit of both.  Having some science fiction component I wanted it to ponder ‘the big questions.” What is love, would you embrace or (as those in the Matrix did) reject paradise because it is so foreign to you. What makes us individuals? And how to you balance loyalty over reason.  In Hollow World I was most pleased that I bridged Burden and Riyria.  It was more “substantial” than Riyria but had fun characters and a nicely developed pace as to not be “too heavy” even though the subject matter was.
  • Ideally, I want Rhune to be much like Hollow World, but there is a problem.  Hollow World has context…a lot of context.  It is based in our modern-day world, and even after the main character goes far into the future we have movies and books we can draw from to make correlations from.  But Rhune starts in a time and place without foundation.  It isn’t a time and place that most (well except maybe history buffs) would recognize, so I have to provide a foundation, and do so in a way that is entertaining.  A high order…I keep getting “closer” but I’m not quite there yet.

I’m going much slower than I normally do at this part of a novel.  Especially one that I spent so much time developing as this…but I think it essential so for now I’m going to sacrifice word count to continue to develop this books “voice.”

5 thoughts on “Finding the right voice

  1. “They ignore anything going on around them and it’s only after it is late at night, much later than their intended bedtime that they “wake” from the trance and notice for the first time just how much time disappeared while they were “gone.””

    This explains my wife to a “T” when she read your Riyria books. I have you to thank for many days of, “Honey can you change her (our daughter’s) diaper? Honey? HONEY!? Oh never mind – I’ll just do it.”

    • Ha! Well I’m so glad she was so engrossed. Always good to know I hit the goal. And thanks for lending a hand. I was a “stay-at-home dad” for many, many years so I’ve had my fair share of diaper changing over the years.

  2. Thanks for providing this insight, Michael. Very interesting. Hollow World and Burden sound like books I’d enjoy. I like the idea of Rhune’s lack of “foundation” and seeing what you build.

    • Thanks Tim,
      It’s odd because the styles are so very different, one reader (a friend of mine) could’t believe that Burden was written by me because the styles were so very different. It’s good to “mix it up” from time to time.

    • Thanks Tim,
      It’s odd because the styles are so very different, one reader (a friend of mine) could’t believe that Burden was written by me because the styles were so very different. It’s good to “mix it up” from time to time.

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