Until recently, my novels have been written exclusively from the perspective of one person – my protagonist and female lead, Lucy. it’s no secret that she and I have a few things in common too. We’re both a little (sometimes a lot) awkward, we both own a baseball ball gag, and we both have strong, irrepressible sarcastic streaks.
In other words, it’s not a big stretch for me to get into Lucy’s brain.
In the fourth book, Riding It Out, it became necessary to enter my male lead’s head. There were simply too many events that Lucy would necessarily not be around for.
Seth could easily, if simplistically, be described as the strong, silent type. He doesn’t always have a lot to say. Nevertheless, I fully enjoyed finding his voice. He embodies confidence though he is rarely cocky. When problem arise, he faces them head on and wonders why you ever doubted that a solution could be found.
I took that man and made him vulnerable. Repeatedly. Suddenly, the solutions weren’t so simple, his foundations weren’t so secure
I don’t know if this counts as a spoiler alert, but I loved Seth’s perspective so much, I decided to use it for the entirety of book five. And you know what? When writing as Seth, I found myself walking with a bit more swagger, a little extra strut in my step.
Eventually, I realized that *that* was why I enjoyed writing him so much.
I finished a draft of book five – it only has a tentative title so far – in February. My process always includes a cooling off period between drafts. I call it letting the book marinate. I need time to forget what I’ve written so I can go back with fresh, objective eyes.
In the meantime, I wrote a first draft of the sixth book. I doubt it’s very good, but I made myself finish it before going back to edit the fifth book. For book six, I decided to take on another character named Celine. If you’ve read the series so far, you’ll recognize the name. So far, however, she hasn’t had too large of a part. That’s over.
I’d long thought of Seth and Celine as extremely similar. At the very least, they are two sides of the same coin. Which makes complete sense. After all, they were both inspired by the same real-life person. And while Seth broke from this person somewhere in the first book, Celine is a much closer match.
Celine is a lesbian, a psychic, and a pure sadist. She’s had to prove herself, in one way or another, for one reason or another, her entire life. She doesn’t quite have a chip on her shoulder, but if you challenge her, she will not hesitate to push back. She has a zero tolerance policy for straight, cis-male bullshit.
While Seth’s priority is control, Celine’s is pain. She doesn’t need to be in charge or enforce rules, she has little interest in power exchanges, but she will push you to the edge of pain. And you will thank her for it.
You love her already, right? Me too.
Writing as Celine really helped to highlight the differences between her and Seth. Even if book six ended up being nothing more than a writing exercise, it helped me to better understand her. And that makes it worth writing.
Celine’s voice took me some time to find though. I didn’t slip into her brain anywhere near as easily as I did Lucy or even Seth. But once again, I found her perspective colored the way I looked at the rest of the world. Any fucks I did have, disappeared.
There is one scene in book six where I switched back to Lucy’s voice. It had been a while, but the re-entry was pretty smooth. Her awkward side was on full display and, wouldn’t you know it, that side of me came out in full force too.
It was fascinating. And probably something I should have picked up on some time ago. Certainly I had in real life, but this was an object lesson of the best kind.
Changing your perspective changes the way you look at the world. How you approach the world. We should all try it more often. It’s all part of listening to what those who are different than us are saying. It’s part of believing them.
Look. Look through their eyes and See.