September 8, 2011

Finding the Voice

So, I'm trying out four approaches on A Wall for Zombies: 

1. Telling the whole story through the perspective of the dad.

2. Switching between two characters in first person.  This has allowed me to delve deeper into the main character's mind.  However, it's been hard to find two distinct voices.

3. Third person.  This has led me to be a little more detached.  I like the ability to switch scenes more easily and build anticipation.  However, I'm not crazy about the fact that I can't offer any stylized prose and it doesn't always fit with a present tense active voice (which I think is the voice this story needs)

4. Third person with journal entries.  I like the versatility of this, but it feels very cheesy.  Really? Both the father and the son keep journals?  See, it's a bit strange.

I'd love your thoughts on this.


  1. John, just from what I've read 1 or 4 makes the most sense to me. The latter reminds me of dracula which was journal entries and letters. However, I think 1 seems to serve this best. You become the voice of an oppressed people. Its hard to do that without sounding inauthentic, but zombies give you that out.

    Maybe you can write the same excerpt in the four different voices and let us see it? I am curious about some of the other ones. I can't picture them. Show us.

  2. John,
    I totally understand your pain on this. It's hard. I think I enjoyed the first person perspective through the dad. If you need other information to filter through, I agree with Quinn that 4 is a good option too.
    I'm not sure what the sub-plots are but maybe if the son is the one who is finding it hard to cope with being a zombie and is attached to his human life, maybe he relates to letters his dad wrote when he was human? And you can balance it out with the dad's thoughts of a journal as a zombie?
    Good luck either way! It sounds awesome!

  3. I appreciate the feedback on this. I'm realizing the darker side of first-person, though. It allows me to be a commentator when I need to be a story-teller. I need to focus on how the story itself will convey a sense of humanity.