One Writer’s Journey

December 2, 2016

Voice: Capturing the Specifics

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:53 am
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pick-upI’m 1/2 way through my scene outline for Iron Mountain and I have to admit that I’m getting jazzed.  I really want to get started writing this book!  But I’m going to have to do some work to recapture the voice.

I started another draft of this novel something over a year ago.  I had the perfect voice going.  It’s a bit like my own voice but not entirely.  My son lovingly tells me that I sound like a well educated pirate.  When cornered, almost literally, he explained that I have a tendency to combine grand-dad’s earthy commentary with the vocabulary that comes with a masters.

I don’t want the novel to sound entirely like me.  After all, each book should have its own voice.  So like me but not quite.  I think of it as how a poem sounds when recited by different readers or, as Lee Wind explained in his post, a song sounds when performed by different artists.  The example that Wind gives is “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”  He encourages readers to listen to various versions of the song and note how each artist makes it distinct.  He provides links to Marvin Gaye, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Slits and more.  What is it that makes each performance unique?  Figure that out and you’ve got a grip on voice.

The tricky thing is that I know the voice of this book when I hear it.  It is in the tones and sentence structure of the people I know in southern Missouri.  I heard it in the pages of Winter’s Bone.  I wanted to find it in a TED talk by JD Vance but he’s gone polished and loss that homey edge.  I know it when I hear it.  So as I get ready step into this world, I’ve got to hear it again.  I seem to remember the music in O Brother Where Art Thou nodding in the right direction.

Sounds like I’ve got some listening to do.


April 8, 2013

Creating Mood

thaw and moodAbout a week ago, Lee Wind blogged about Rainy Mood.  What is Rainy Mood?  The image on this website  is rain running down window glass.  The sound?  A rain shower complete with gently rolling thunder.  What really surprised me was the text supplied by the reader who had recommended the site to Lee.  “If you ever want to write a depressing scene.”
Depressing?  Rain?  Maybe I’ve spent too much time in the desert, or it could have something to do with last summer’s drought, but I do not find rain depressing.  For me, it is soothing.  I open the patio door so that I get the full effect of the rain on the metal roof.

What does this mean to you as a writer?  When you seek to create mood in your work, you have to go beyond inserting weather or scenery or interior design and assuming that your reader gets the mood that you intend.  You’re going to actually have to work it a bit and provide details described in just the right way.

A soothing rain might caress the windows.  The thunder sounds like deep, throaty laughter.  Birds chirp and splash in the puddles.

A depressing rain cries.  The wind moans.  Trees sag and droop and mourn.

A frightening rain pounds.  The thunder rattles windows.  Lightening pulses across the sky.

Okay, we all know those examples are stinko, but hopefully you get the point.  Don’t assume that your reader gets it.  Rain isn’t depressing for everyone.  Sunshine can be oppressive even if you aren’t a vampire.   Choose your words carefully and your reader will get the mood you intend.


August 29, 2012

Getting Your First Book

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:09 am
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What does it take to make your first sale?  Check out this video interview with picture book author Tina Nochols Coury about her book, Hanging Off Jefferson’s Nose.  She has a lot to say about the journey to publication as well as what she’s learned working with a traditional publisher.

Thank you to SCBWI’s Lee Wind for sharing this with us.



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