Sunday, June 04, 2006

Addendum: I.e., I knew I forgot something

Of course it was the most salient point of my earlier post. Read that one first. Otherwise I'll just be blathering (worse than usual).

We write in an increasingly competitive fiction market. We need that one thing that will make our prospective agents, editors, and readers sit up and take notice. Many authors think that thing is voice.

While I don't recomment treating these folks like 3-year-olds, the broader lesson I learned at the playground was this: it's not about emotion (i.e. tone), and it's not about standing around explaining yourself. I made Hamlet listen to me solely by letting him know - through my voice alone - that there was a very good reason he needed to listen. Flipping out would have scared him; explaining my vision would have bored him. Either way, his chance of falling off that slide would have been higher. The voice saved us both.

Find the edge. Find the one thing, through word choice and imagination, that tells your reader why s/he should read your work. Time will tell whether this lesson actually worked for me, but at least it gave me a tool to work with.


Blogger Meg said...

Yes, The Voice. The one every kid learns to recognize as, "This time she's Not Kidding, and I'd better do it if I value my [insert Value: free time, freedom, life]." Can't wait to see the Shakespearean tantrums, one of these days.

Have you ever read any Joseph Wambaugh? Talk about Voice....

4/6/06 2:37 PM  

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