Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Each Character Their Own Voice
I finished Chasing Twilight! Whew. I have lots of comments and questions but need to think about it some more. To begin with, I wonder, was it hard to write such a big novel in the format of letters between two characters? Developing the story in the things that two people say to each other can't be easy, but I will say it worked here.
Thanks for your question, Kim. You are right, this format for the novel was one of the biggest technical challenges that I faced while writing Chasing Twilight. This technique is tantamount to writing in the first person for two characters, which proved to be an exacting task. The first person is considered by many to be the most difficult voice in writing fiction because the story has to unfold in the confines of the psychological filters of the character. They may not be seeing events clearly because of intense emotion or immaturity. Yet in the first person, the writer can only convey to the reader the thoughts and feelings of the character within these confines. The format for Chasing Twilight doubled those confines because each of the two main characters wrote in the first person and conveyed their own version of the story as it unfolded.
While I found this difficult at times, I thought the technique reflected our contemporary world, and allowed a wonderful exchange of spirit between the characters. Romance beginning with emails over the Internet has become common place. The increasingly popular use of computers and the Internet has expanded our individual worlds and led us to a more worldcentric view. We can now develop relationships and exchange ideas with people we will never see. It is easier for us to stay connected with loved ones without having to take the time to physically visit with them. The technology not only expands our worlds, but offers us insights into who we are and opportunities to explore our consciousness. All of this came into play as I wrote Chasing Twilight.
I have also found that when people are writing to one another, they are much more profound and poetic. They can take as long as they like to write a paragraph, writing and deleting until the words are just right. We can’t do this in conversation. Using this format gave me a chance to explore what two people might express to each other, without the problems of emotional reactions, body language or time constraints. Letters allow our very best expression. The more we write them, the more profound we can become. I think this allows our hearts to open, not only to others but to ourselves. Molly Brogan