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Help with Voice... Solomon Pierce.
Michael Guarneiri
Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 8:32 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 29

I've put up a story that falls under the genre of Contemporary Fantasy: Solomon Pierce. The story is told in the first person (i.e. by Solomon). Thus, you might think it easy to get Solomon's voice. However, I've realized that a few readers can't seem to empathize with Solomon. How can I make Solomon more accessible? How can I make the readers understand him and feel what he feels (whether it be pain, excitement, etc.)? 

All suggestions are very much appreciated. Thanks!

Michelle L Ross
Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 9:21 PM
Joined: 5/8/2011
Posts: 9

I have a reference book titled "Breathing Life Into Your Characters," by Rachel Ballon. The first chapter of the book talks about writing from the inside out. What she means there is you must be able to tap into your own well of emotions in order to write realistic emotions into your character. She put a writing exercise at the end of the chapter that might be of some help. The exercise is as follows:

"Recall a time when you experienced an emotionally powerful event in your life. It could be the loss of somebody you loved or a painful breakup. Before you begin to write, try to relax by concentrating on breathing deeply. You may also want to play some peaceful or meditative music. After you're completely relaxed, begin to write. Write about the experience in the present tense, using first person and your senses of touch, taste, sound, sight, and smell. Describe your sensory memory of the smell of the room, the texture of the wood, the color of the flowers, your feelings about the experience, the expression on your face, etc."

She further states to not worry about grammar, spelling, or punctuation during this exercise. Just write freely, from the heart.

I once saw a quote from a writer that said something along the lines of you aren't truly a writer until you've made yourself cry. You can also do exercises like this to write about times you were angry or really happy. It will help you create characters with more depth.

Hope this helps.
Atthys Gage
Posted: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 9:34 PM
Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 467

Michael; I realize this a very old thread but i stumbled upon it and thought I'd chime in. I read Solomon Pierce and posted a review several weeks ago. My thoughts, without going back to look, are that he was a very sympathetic character in a tragic situation.

The problem isn't in making us open up to him so much as it is making his experiences feel like our experiences. My take is that we spend to much time trying to explain what our characters are feeling, and not enough time just watching the world with them, seeing it as it happens. I'm not talking here about the old show versus tell criticism (though that is a part of it). There can be a lot of value in trying to understand, as a author, what your characters are feeling, but as soon as you tell us what that is, you distance us from the actual emotions involved, and the character--the complete opposite of what you want.

So do all the introspection you want, then put it all away in the back of your mind, and just write. Describe what he is seeing, hearing, saying, doing--don't even mention what he is feeling. If you do it well, the experience will be so vivid that we will feel what he is feeling.

Easy, right?

Good luck.

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