Friday, October 05, 2018

Another Voice

I should have known, but I didn't. A couple of days ago, I was editing some chapters. When I clicked "Review," I saw something I hadn't noticed before -- a big letter "A" and the words "Read Aloud Speech." I must have downloaded this at some point, but I had never seen it before. It isn't on my computer at work.

Curious, I clicked on the "A" and suddenly this male voice was reading my manuscript aloud.

Now, I haven't been completely oblivious to technology. I knew this was possible. But I didn't realize I had it, and that instead of spending hours reading my book aloud -- something I do with everything I write -- I can sit back and listen to my narrator read. This is going to save me precious time as I check my published Lizzie Stuart books against the last manuscript versions I can find of each. As I've mentioned the series is being reissued by a new publisher. I only have the ARC and edits for the last book in the series.

Discovering my narrator also means I can continue work on my nonfiction manuscript today even though I have a miserable cold. I need to save my voice because tomorrow I'm scheduled to offer a writing workshop at the public library.

Speaking of voices, I've been thinking about what Barbara and Donis said about characters in their posts this week. The workshop I'm teaching is about characters in mystery/detective fiction. It's a follow-up to the four-part course I offered this summer. Barbara, I will certainly quote your observation about characters: "I believe the greatest authenticity has to be in the realm of characters." And Donis, I love what you said about how the relationship between characters may change as they "reveal themselves." I'm going to send the workshop participants to Type M to read both posts.

Meanwhile, I'm going to go make myself another cup of tea with honey and lemon and try to get myself together.

If anyone else have thoughts about characters, please share. I can't write until I know some things about my characters -- at least some of their backstory. But I know pantsers who plunge in, discovering almost everything about their characters as they write. Thoughts?


Sybil Johnson said...

Hope you feel better soon, Frankie! I can't write until I know most things about my characters as well, at least the main ones. I have come up with supporting characters though on the spur of the moment. An image will pop into my head of someone complete with an attitude/voice. I've ended up using at least one of these characters in other books in the series. I do find out things about my characters as I'm writing though. One will mention having a brother. I didn't know they had a brother! Or a wife who died. I didn't know they had a wife! I didn't know these things when I started writing them.

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

Thanks, Sybil. I'm hoping I can get some rest over the weekend -- after my workshop.

And thank you for your comments about characters. Great point about supporting characters. In my first book, Death's Favorite Child, one of the characters -- a red-haired teenager from the South -- was just suddenly there. Standing outside a shop in Cornwall, England, eating ice cream and telling her friend a story an older relative had told her about a dead body that exploded. Lizzie overhear the conversation and later encountered Ashley on the beach. And Ashley turned up again in a short story when she (now in college and planning to go to medical school) saw Lizze's name, remembered their encounter, and called to ask her about an old murder in Gallagher (a drowning that she had seen mentioned in a newspaper article).

Sybil Johnson said...

So interesting about Ashley. Funny how some characters just show up unannounced.

Donis Casey said...

Frankie, I always think I know my characters before I start, but I sometimes misjudge them. Just like I do when I meet real people. p.s. feel better soon.