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Writer at Work: Voices

There are a whole lot of activities that make up a writer’s life that involve little or no writing. For example:

A few days ago my WIP decided that possibly it wanted to be 1st person after insisting for two and a half drafts that it really must be 3rd. (Gee thanks, muse!) But hey, I am always game. What story wants, story gets. And I knew it might solve a few narrative issues I’d been having difficulty with.

Unfortunately, switching POV is not as simple as changing all the “he”s to “I”s. I’d need to have a strong sense of my main character’s voice. And in this particular case my main character is a teenage boy living many centuries ago (to the extent that the events in the story could theoretically be in our reality) in Scandinavia. Though, for fictional purposes, speaking English.

So what writerly task did I find myself engaged in that evening? Looking up interviews and other videos on YouTube with native Scandinavians speaking in English. Preferably young-ish and male. Which, okay, is not the most accurate representation, but it’s about as close as I’m going to get to developing a sense of rhythm and sentence structure and anything else that might be useful.

All in a day’s work!

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Originally published at Megan Crewe - another world, not quite ours. You can comment here or there.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 9th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
My father and his side are all Swedish (came thru Ellis Island when he was 15). I always wished he had taught me more Swedish but he was taught to speak only the tongue of our country (namely English). Anyway, I've made it a minor hobby of mine to read up on Scandinavian culture and how they interact - the culture is very different from the typical US mentality. ANYWAY, one good book I remember that helped me get into the mindset was The Modern Day Viking (or Modern Vikings, I can't remember for sure and can't look it up on my phone here). It's a great intro to how they think and reason (and *really* helped me understand some things about my Svenska relatives). Another place I'd look (which I'm certain you have already) are the folk tales and myths of the region. A good way to get into the mindset IMO.

I'll try to look up the book or think of anything else that might help you when I'm on break.
Jun. 11th, 2009 01:38 am (UTC)
Yep, I've read a lot about Viking culture, and much of the folktales and mythology--the story itself is based on Norse mythology. It's always a hard balance between trying to be authentic and trying to keep the tone accessible to present-day readers. But if you think of anything you think might be useful, I'd love to heard about it!
Jun. 9th, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
LOL...this just happened to me, too. My finished ms, though. Uhg! Those muses need to speak up when we START the ms. The funny thing is that when I started my first rewrite I started in 1st, then a third of the way through changed my mind. Now I'm kicking myself.
Jun. 11th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
Yeah, it can be frustrating! I think I've decided it does still word best in 3rd, but trying 1st out did bring out some character development and voice things I hadn't had before, some of which I've been able to bring back to the 3rd person version. So it was still worth it!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

My Books

Earth & Sky
(Earth & Sky #1, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2014

The Clouded Sky
(Earth & Sky #2, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

A Sky Unbroken
(Earth & Sky #3, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

The Way We Fall
(Fallen World #1, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2012

The Lives We Lost
(Fallen World #2, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2013

The Worlds We Make
(Fallen World #3, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2014

Those Who Lived: Fallen World Stories
(Fallen World #3.5, apocalyptic YA)
self pubbed, 2014

Give Up the Ghost
(paranormal YA)
Henry Holt, 2009

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