One of the biggest challenges any writer faces is determining which “voice” is apt to tell his or her tale.
Now, when I talk about “voice” I’m not referring to “Point of View“, that is, whether a story is told through a first person narrative, a third person omniscient perspective and so on. No, I’m referring to the character behind the voice. The “voice” itself could be told from different Points of View.
ROBIN HOOD STORY
Let me clarify: if I said to you that we’re going to write a story together, you and me, out here in the lonely landscape of the imagination where dreams are formed into tales by writers, young and old, fledgling and experienced…and then if we spun away allowing characters and plot and locations to coalesce…and if, to speed things up, I were to suggest using the Robin Hood tale, but I wanted you to rewrite it set in today’s world, in your neighbourhood, on your street where there’s a fella called Robin and a lady called Marion and a vile person called Mr. Sheriff who rules the town…I’m sure, I wouldn’t need to tell you anything more in order for you to spin your contemporary tale.
USING OTHER VOICES…FOR THE SAME TALE
And once you’d written you tale, if I asked you to retell the story using the “voice” of Tony Blair or Mother Teresa or Bob Geldoff or Angelina Jolie or Nelson Mandela, each time, the “voice” would be potent and the tale would change. And if instead of using famous people you were to use people who are friends and family, aquainances or enemies, you would imbue your fictional characters with real flesh. Sans doute.
IF YOU HIT A WALL…If one of your creations is lacking in spirit think of someone who is spirited – they can be fictional characters from novels and movies or TV. If you need someone who is witty think of someone who embodies those characteristics and incorporate them into your creation.
Finding characters is actually quite easy: just open your eyes and look and feel and listen. After all what are writers other than conduits of the imagination?