In some ways, that’s how I’ve felt through the process of writing and editing Voice of a Silent Fugitive. I know what I’m writing, but the process of doing it feels unfamiliar. Even though it’s the same story, it’s told through such a different voice that sometimes working with it feels like looking at the world through somebody else’s glasses.
It’s strange; even though, when I began writing this book, the story, setting and characters were already taken care of, in some ways it’s been more difficult than writing My Fugitive was.
In My Fugitive, the Beachwalker was the POV character. She was the one I identified with the most, so even though I sometimes struggled with what to write next, I felt comfortable in her skin. And the Fugitive, who was conceived as an inherently unknowable object of mingled compassion and fear, was easier to write when his thoughts and motives were seen but not heard.
Now, through the process of portraying the world through his eyes, I’m forced to dive deep into that once-unknowable mind. And I’m running into obstacles. It’s interesting how characters can take on traits that can go unnoticed even by their creator, but are present to the point where they’re as real and unchangeable as those of a living human.
The one that’s really making itself noticeable, as I edit this book and flesh it out, is the fact that the Fugitive is a very detached, utilitarian person – at least on the surface. Despite their similarities, he’s almost the opposite of the Beachwalker that way; she has a poetic, dramatic mind with a cool, logical core, whereas he has a gentle heart that is usually – and deliberately – veiled by a layer of calmly analytical neutrality.
It makes sense, considering his past, but it also makes it difficult to push past his deliberately emotionless defenses to reach the heart inside that carefully constructed wall.
While writing the first draft through his eyes, I found myself portraying things in much simpler, more factual terms than I did while writing as the Beachwalker. I also noticed that, even though I wanted to keep the writing style consistent between books, my efforts to maintain the flowing poetry that came so easily with her fell kind of flat when I tried to channel it through him.
I found myself torn: should I just let him tell his story in a way that suits him? Or should I try to forge deeper, to bring out the emotion hidden behind that practical facade, and make him sound more like the Beachwalker?
This post is getting long, so I’ll talk about the conclusion I came to in the next entry. Keep an eye on my Facebook or Twitter account to get the rest of the story.