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Alicia Renee Kline – Finding Lauren’s Voice

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Finding Lauren’s Voice

by Alicia Renee Kline

I am a big fan of writing in the first person.  For me, it’s what comes most naturally.  I like to write in a more confessional tone than something  strict and formal.  I think that for the genre that I write – this crazy hybrid of romance and chick lit – first person narrative lends itself well to the story development.

Critics argue that first person is the easiest to write.  In my opinion, it’s also the most comfortable to read.  Let’s face it – first person is true to life.  You can relate to it.  A single person can only be in one place in one time and, in real life, you don’t have a clear picture of what everyone else around you is thinking or doing.  If you’re staying in one character’s head throughout the story, you bond with him or her and tend to anticipate reactions to events.  If you’re emotionally involved with the main character, you’re more likely to have an enjoyable reading experience.

Intoxicated has always been Lauren’s story.  I couldn’t imagine it being told in anything but her voice.  The outward conflict is obviously between her, Eric and Matthew, but the internal struggle she endures is just as captivating.  On the surface this is a love triangle, but digging deeper it’s also a metaphor for feelings that many people have in their mid to late twenties.  Does one hold on to who they were in the past, or should you mature and become who you are meant to be for the remainder of your adult life?  Do you embrace the familiar and stay rooted in your routine or step outside of your comfort zone and possibly experience something even better?

At the same time, I understand the readers’ desire to not have the wool pulled completely over their eyes in regards to the other characters’ intentions.  As the author, I know where I’m leading the story.  Occasionally, I find the need to drop a hint as to where I’m headed by having another character challenge Lauren’s take on things.  Usually the devil’s advocate role falls to Gracie.  In that regard, Lauren’s best friend is surprisingly perceptive.

Another tactic that I employ is writing the Prologue and the Epilogue in third person.  This gives the reader a chance to hear portions of the story from Blake and Matthew’s point of view, respectively.  In my opinion, the novel revolves around the three of them as the true main characters, so I felt it fitting that all of them should get a hand in the storytelling.

Blake starts off our story with a little bit of exposition about herself and her issues.  We learn from her that there are skeletons to be revealed, long before Lauren is privy to the knowledge.  Her take on things is short and sweet, and deliberately so.  By nature, she doesn’t reveal much.  Rest assured that we haven’t heard the last from her point of view.

Having Matthew be the subject of the Epilogue serves two purposes.  Number one, it provides for our cliffhanger.  If we followed Lauren all the way to the end of Intoxicated, it would be impossible to have her surprise the audience with her actions because the reader would be there when she did them.  Two, I felt that after his last interaction with Lauren he could use a little redeeming.  I wanted to give him an outlet to explain himself.  You may not agree with him but at least you understand the reasoning behind what he does.

Combining the first and the third person points of view helps me to create a three dimensional story.  At the beginning, you know you are in for a big reveal.  At the ending, you know how Matthew really feels even though Lauren has no clue.  If we relied solely upon Lauren for our story, we would never get the entire version.

An important side note to writing in the first person is that it allows me ample opportunities to write additional content.  I’m given the liberty to imagine a whole scene from a different character’s viewpoint or to create entirely new scenes that happened out of Lauren’s view.  In this day and age, I think we’re trained to want more out of things.  People appreciate bonus content, and I’m more than happy to oblige.


When everything she ever wanted turns out not to be enough…

Lauren Jefferies is on the verge of having it all. Hard work and determination have culminated in a promotion that promises to put her on track with her upwardly mobile boyfriend Eric. High school sweethearts and together for ten years, they are young enough to have their whole lives ahead of them, but old enough to have established themselves as forces to be reckoned with.

The news should be cause for celebration.

But taking the job means moving two hours away.

Instead of planning their reign as an up and coming power couple, they find their already tenuous relationship further damaged by their conflicting opinions. Eric doesn’t want her to leave. Lauren refuses to back down. In the end, she packs her things and heads up north to her new life, the abstract promise of figuring this all out later hanging between them.

Lauren settles into her new routine quite easily, thanks largely in part to her fast friendship with her roommate Blake. Blake’s companionship comes in a package deal with that of her older brother Matthew. One night over dinner, an innocent conversation leads to the discovery that the three of them have more in common than they’d ever imagined.

Ashamed of his role in the thread that ties them together, Matthew begins to withdraw. As Lauren devises a game plan to ease his torment, Eric inadvertently pushes them together with his selfish actions.

Lauren’s relationship with Eric continues to flounder. The distance is an issue, but Eric’s indifference does nothing to help. Every bright spot in their courtship is countered by darkness and bitterness. More often than not, Matthew is there to pick up the pieces that Eric leaves behind.

Prior to meeting Matthew, Lauren thought she knew what she wanted. Now that she’s just about to obtain everything on her list, she’s left to question if she ever really knew what that was.

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Genre – Romance / Chick Lit

Rating – PG13

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