As a writer – aspiring one – I’ve had the roller-coaster experience of multiple characters and story lines carrying on in my head. They invaded dreams, interrupted homework and chores, walked with me, soothed me, challenged me, and bullied me. They wanted to be seen, felt, heard and how could I blame them when I wanted the same? I wanted to bring the insanity to life. Letter by letter, keystroke by keystroke, till the cacophony of voices in my head were reflected back to me.
In doing all this labour of love, there is one fine detail that has to be taken care less an emergency would happen. Back up hands would be needed. Extra pair of eyes would be deciding factors. The fate of that baby would be uncertain, and why? Because there was no voice. Was it dead? No, there were the arms, the legs, the body, the head. All moving. The eyes squeezed shut from the entry to the world but there was no sound of life. That is where my job really begins and continues on with me till the very end.
My job is to find the voice. I’m to figure out if they will be the aggressor with a love for magnifying glass, a strong dislike for thunder, and a secret fear of butterflies or will they be a filler who hates adventure but never leaves a friend behind?
I’ve found that voice can’t be forced. It comes like the rain on a scorching summer day. You can beg for it, but it won’t come till it’s ready and when it does, there’s no feeling like it. Waiting and working with the plot is what opens me up for the voices to develop. They were there in my head once. All I have to do is allow for that echo to manifest and trust in myself.
My advice, reread what you’ve got down so far. It can be notes, quick quotes, either a very basic or beginning or an outline, or even paragraphs. Your voice is there as the lead solo and so are the rest. They’re merely waiting for their cue to start singing. If you don’t feel anything, then scrap the idea (meaning store it away for later because you may return to it) and move on.
Developing/Building worksheets are very helpful when it comes to plot and character. Some questions may be daunting, some unappealing, but you have the option of answering whatever you want or need to in order to really get a hold of what you’re working with. A little roleplay, with a trusted partner) can help as well. You’d be surprised how the creativity juices start flowing. Same for doing the old faithful, pick up a book, and read. Sometimes reading can be the jump start you need. I haven’t been working with a voice journal long enough to stand by it, but it is an exercise that might work better for you than you’d expect.
My very last suggestion is one most people who deal with writers or writing and that’s to just WRITE. Sit down and keep at it till you feel the wall breaking. Sometimes the only way to get past that wall, is to go through it. Hopefully one of those things can help you find the voice the way they have helped me.