Finding Barry’s Voice

I did it! I finally found Barry’s narration voice. Only took a year and a half.

Why did it take so long for his voice to come to me? I got Margery and Vern almost immediately. Nina was also pretty easy. I even got Pete, who you’ll meet at the end of book 1 and he’s a major character in book 2 and 3, right away.

By the way, the picture to the right makes me nauseous.  How about you?

With Barry, I’ve always felt a connection to him, can visualize him perfectly, and can even sense his presence in the room with me.  But for some reason I was having a hard time completely capturing the tone of his voice and his personality in the narration.  Now that I’ve got it, I blame it on that first person present thing.  Way back when I started the story, I thought it’d be easier to write in it.  LOL!  Boy was I wrong.   Like most protagonists, Barry’s constantly in situations where he has to think fast or choose between the lesser of two evils, so he inevitably makes lots of bad decisions.  Capturing his voice during those moments, before he has a chance to think through his actions or embellish on his experiences, as he would in past tense, has been one of my greatest challenges.

How’d I find Barry’s narrator voice.  I edited and rewrote and edited and rewrote the first chapter about twenty times with the intent to find it.  Insane, huh?  Well, it worked.

One other comment about writing and reading first person present.  We writers who tackle it get a lot of flack about how uncomfortable it reads when you’re not used to it.  But after a year and a half of writing in first person present, it’s hard to switch back to past tense.  And recently I started reading Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand, which is really well written in first person present.  After reading the first few pages of his book, I’ve realized I prefer the way it reads as well.  So come on publishers, give us more of it.

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