Imagine you've typed along for weeks/months, building your world and populating it with unique individuals. You've got a whole book. Maybe more than one. And suddenly, you realize this one character isn't as unique as you thought he was.
This hasn't been a problem for me. Characters pretty much pop out of my head onto the page and I leave them as they are. I haven't seen a reason to change any of them after they were already birthed onto paper.
Then came Thomas... who popped into my head almost fully formed when I first started writing Ugly and the Beast. But he was too much like another Thomas in another UF series. So, he became Oliver. And I wrote the whole book with Oliver being Oliver.
Except after I was finished and starting to write Cinder Ugly, I noticed a lot of other books had characters that were a lot like Oliver.
Hit the brakes and hit the wall.
I'm too far along to completely change Oliver. He's a cat. He has to be a cat or there are several... tons... of scenes that don't work right. He has to be a black cat - because I already paid for a cover with a black cat on it.
Okay, I can do this. In my head, I've reworked Oliver into Kazimir - an Eastern European aristocratic cat. No biggie, right?
Wrong. I can't seem to get his voice to stick firmly in my head. My head still wants him to sound like Thomas... err, Oliver. And he's not. He's Kazimir. KAZIMIR. Kaz-i-mir. (Maybe if I keep saying his new name, it'll stick.)
I think I need to immerse myself in people speaking with that particular accent until I hear Kazimir talking in my head. Right now, he's this bizarre snooty British/Russian/Geico Gecko with attitude and slang. So, that definitely needs to change or it needs to be consistent. And I need to make sure he doesn't sound too much like Grigori from the genie books.
Like I said, changing a character's voice is hard work. But no one promised any of this would be easy. And if they did... ROFL... right.
Now I just need to suck it up and move forward with this. Maybe I'll sit down with my trusty notebook and have a little conversation with ol' Kaz on paper until I can hear him in my head.
Ever have this problem? If you're a reader, have you ever run across a case where the character's voice wasn't consistent? Did it bother you as much as it bothers me?