Sunday, June 14, 2009

Losing My Voice

There's been something bugging me of late about my WIP. A niggling little annoyance that's been hampering my word count, and keeping me scowling at my computer screen for hours on end. This weekend, though, I realized what it was, and after a few hours' work, I think I'm back on track.

Turns out, one of my characters was a bit of a loudmouth. (A shock, I'm sure, for anyone who knows me. You can all stop laughing now. It's kind of insulting.) See, for a hundred pages or so, my protagonist sounded like my protagonist. Then I introduced this other guy, and all of the sudden my protagonist sounded like him. A little rougher, a little less educated, and a whole lot more colorful of speech. Which is fine for the character who's supposed to talk that way, but it's crap for the one who's not. Nothing shatters the illusion of fiction like all the characters sounding alike, and having a voice shift mid-book? Just awful.

Luckily, it proved easy enough to fix, and now that I know to look out for it, it should be easily avoided in the future. I suppose I could've left it for the second draft, but I just don't work that way. Once I know there's a problem that needs addressing, I can't move on until I've dealt with it. But now I have, which frees me up for the totally bad-ass scene I'm writing next. And on the plus side, I just read through the manuscript in its entirety, and I think that, former voice issues aside, it's really pretty good. Now, of course, all that's left is to finish the damn thing...