Not of the Charles Dickens variety, and definitely NOT of the baby variety. But after mulling and stewing for a few weeks, I’ve finally started a new project, and, as always – I have great expectations. A huge part of the writing process is giving birth to a whole cast of new characters, young, old and in-between. I remember the first time I heard an experienced writer describe hearing the voice of her character for the first time – her description went something like this: “I was sitting at the table, and he just came over, sat down across from me and we chatted.”
At the time, I was a highly-sceptical novice, and I’d never had that kind of out-there writing experience. Now that I have a few full-length manuscripts under my belt, I understand what that author meant. There has to be a moment when your characters become real 3D people to you, or the writing just won’t flow. You can’t tell somebody’s story until you get to know that person, until you can hear their words and perceive the world as they would. In other words, you need to try to detach yourself from the story and make it completely your character’s story.
I’ve just finished reading Susan Patron’s Hard Pan trilogy – The Higher Power of Lucky won the Newbery Medal a few years back. It’s so obvious that the author knew Lucky (and the other Hard Pan residents) inside and out, and that’s part of what makes them such wonderful books. The author’s voice is rarely, if ever, evident. That’s a skill I’m still working on…
Jacob’s hard at work in Duk Padiet these days and has posted a few pictures on the Wadeng Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/WadengWingsOfHope These future students are proudly modelling Wadeng t-shirts (and no doubt, helping with the building:) I’m sure Jacob’s family here in Nova Scotia is missing him terribly, but proud of him at the same time – me, too!