Tuesday 5th December 2017

It seems there’s a new bug going around and I’ve come down with it.

Over the past 24 hours, 2 of my friends have come down with this light flu.  You’re basically bunged up and your muscles and joints ache like they do with a normal flu.

It seems to pass pretty fast so I’d rather have it now so I’m better for Saturday’s tournament.  With any luck some of the other competitors will come down with it a bit later and not be 100% for Wessex London on Saturday.  Having seen the pools, I’ve got a number of tough fights and I could do with every advantage I can get.

Weirdly I could feel my toes cramping up this evening and I’ve finished the day deciding to wrap up and try and sweat it out overnight.  I’m going to London tomorrow to play with some real swords so don’t want to be ill for that.  I also have my last training session before the tournament so I’d like to be vaguely competent for that.

I had Kate contact me today.  She was struggling with the voice of her latest novel.  It’s something that I’ve seen as more and more important as I’ve gained experience.  I was lucky in that the voice for Black As Knight just came to me.  I thought first person present might be difficult but it was just such a natural fit that it’s never been a challenge.

But as I progress as a writer, voice is something that increasingly fascinates me.  I think when you start writing, you’re so worried about just telling the story that any stylistic elements are not even considered.  I know I spent a long time worrying about what my voice as a writer was.  It’s such an abstract concept but I guess, in short, it’s the way you tell a story.  Every writer has their tics, but finding what those are can take many hundreds of thousands of words.

But I’m starting to think there’s another level, where voice goes from being about the author to the project.  A good writer can create a voice unique to that story.  Sure, it probably has the author’s hallmarks hidden in there, but it goes beyond being the way an author tells a story to how an author decides to tell a story.

I think Kate’s just getting to that stage where she’s thinking about this.  My advice to her was to just try a few things.  I’ve written 100 word passages in the past, just to get a voice onto the page and see how it reads.  I remember Black as Knight starting as one of those experiments.  I’d planned the novel and had a good idea for the voice.  So I just decided to try it and see how it worked out.  I thought I’d get a couple of hundred words in, stop and then re-evaluate but instead I just ended up continuing.

I definitely want to write more unique voices going forwards.  It’s definitely something that I now think about as much as plot and character.

I’ll be interested to see what Kate’s experiments come up with.  Sometimes it’s just a case of playing with things and finding what sticks.

If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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