How We Become Who We Are is the working title of my doctorate novel. Today I had a bit of breakthrough with voice and character perspective – always a major challenge when beginning a novel and the answer to the most important question of all at this stage. What kind of novel am I writing? So far I’ve tried third person past tense, first person present tense – fortunately i’ve been able to exclude other options for this particular novel – sometimes the mind edits subconsciously – for this I am thankful. Neither on their own has felt right. So today after 4 hours of dissatisfactory reworking of the first 10 pages I come up with the mind shatteringly brilliant solution [please hear the sarcasm] of trying both. And I like it. I spent way too long on my previous novel writing in the wrong perspective – third person past tense – when what works best for it – and how it is now – is first person present. Somehow everything I wanted to say about the main character, her predicament and the themes/ideas suddenly sounded true when I’d found the right POV in which to present them. Spending so much time on finding the voice or perspective of your novel can feel like you going nowhere slowly. You might gaze longingly as your word count objectives for this week/month as they pass by ludicrously out of reach. But in fact the work you are doing is in many ways the most important work of all. Words on a page is what you can do. You are a writer. Putting the RIGHT words on the page – well that takes a better writer and that’s what you want to be isn’t it? With each novel you want to become a better writer. Better answer that question of what kind of novel am I writing then. Because when you have the voice everything else follows – form, structure, language not to mention your background research to do list. Then you can really start putting words on the page.