Calliope, the main character in my first fantasy novel, has a voice that’s quite distinct from other heroines I’ve written since MAGIC REMEMBERED.
Four years have passed since Calliope debuted in October 2018 and as I began working on the fourth book in her series, I found myself struggling to reconnect with her voice. Luckily, I haven’t struggled to pick up her story where it left off. Though her name has changed over the course of 3 novels from Calliope Jones to Calliope du Sang due to *plot twists* and *revelations,* her basic personality has not.
I decided the best way to connect with her unique voice would be to re-read the prior books and reacquaint myself with how she thinks and moves; how she experiences and uses her magic; how she relates to and feels about the humans and Magicals in her world.
Future readers of this book — tentatively titled MAGIC UNDERMINED — will find it opens on the Calliope they’re familiar with. She’s still living on Salt Spring Island in her circa 1970’s A-frame house. Her sons have matured and her grandfather is determined to use his skills — and his fortune — to remodel the family property into one that will accommodate the many Magicals flocking to hang out there. Her lover, the nearly immortal druid Tanner Marechal, is very much a part of her life.
While all that sounds lovely, there’s a lot going on below her life’s seemingly pleasant surface.
When Calliope first came to me, I knew she would be at least 40 years old; a divorced, single parent; a witch. I also knew she would be on the cusp of entering peri-menopause, an important threshold in a witch’s life, especially if that witch has never really been trained in how to wield their magic.
The titles for the first 3 Magic books came to me during a weekend workshop, and helped set the tone for the arc of Calliope’s journey. In order to redeem her magic, she would first have to remember, then reclaim, her power.
In order to find Calli’s voice for book #4, I have to figure out with where she’s at right now. I need for her to share her hopes and dreams; her smaller worries and bigger fears; her deepest desires. Once I have a handle on all that, then I’ll have to put her through the wringer.
Here are three general, voice-building questions I’m starting with:
- What is Calli’s current emotional state?
- What problem most needs solving? And are there other, smaller problems in the mix?
- How will she react when I interject an “inciting incident” into her life and she is forced to react?