Writing: A Character’s Voice

I have a character talking to me in my brain and I can’t replicate his voice on paper. It is the most frustrating thing. I know what he sounds like and looks like and feels like in my head, but somehow when I put my fingers to keys I can’t replicate it.  I feel like a kid on a kayboard every time I try. I am banging at the keys and somehow it isn’t turning out like what I imagine it should.

Robert Jordan gets a a lot of flak for his characters, but I like to give him credit in this. Each of his characters is pretty good at their voice. Overall he has some weird ideas of how men and women see each other, but that aside he keeps their voices true.  I could pick up a Wheel of Time book and within a few sentences (assuming it isn’t just place-descriptions) and figure out who the character is.  He might not be brilliant at it (again, unrealistic beliefs of the other gender(s)) but he is good.

I have tried every day for the past week to write one chapter in this character’s voice and I can’t manage it.  Some of the problem is that is he is very cynical and for all my frustrations with the world, I truly do believe mankind will survive and even thrive. It’s hard to keep all my words in that deeply cynical – sometimes downright depressingly cynical – tone.

He is making me want to take my tent up into the mountains for a weekend so I can get away from responsibilities and connections – just listen to his voice and throw away a LOT of paper exploring what he says.

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