Now that I'm back into the work of writing, I brought a chunk of the new YA dystopian novel-in-progress to one of my crit groups on saturday. On the plus side, they were all mad at where I stopped and wanted more.
Phew--that's always a relief!
On the still-need-to-keep-working side, they agreed that the voices of my two protagonists sounded far too alike. The story is in close 3rd person, with several POV, though the vast majority will be Jude and Olivia, the two main characters. There was one section with the voice of the antagonist and all agreed his voice was very distinct.
So now I have to make a decision: continue to push the story forward, or go back and nail down the characters. I know, I know, conventional wisdom is never edit while you write. And I know that advice comes from the all too common problem of writers who get into a never-ending editing loop, without ever finishing a story.
My own writing process is somewhat recursive, and having already finished 6 novels, I don't think I'm in danger of the loop. For me, writing is like putting together a building. If the foundation isn't right, the rest won't be stable enough to build. And I can't do that foundational work after the whole is written.
I think I just need to spend a little time finding each characters' heart and then their voices will be right.