You can't wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club. Jack London

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Where is your VOICE?

I thought I’d write about Voice for this post. Then I found some wonderful posts on voice HERE.
No matter how many times I read about something, sometimes I still need to read more to understand.
Perhaps another person can explain it one more time, another way for me to get it. So here’s my take on voice.

On Saturday night Narnia, the Lion, the Witch and the wardrobe aired by C.S. Lewis. I have never seen or read it so I sat down to watch it. I was amazed this story was about Heaven and Hell, the righteous and the sinners. It jumped out at me during the battle with the Witch and all her comrades were pretty ugly looking creatures.

Edmond, the youngest brother believed the Witch would make him a king and betrayed the others. When Edmond escapes the Witch, the Lion speaks to him in private, and then tells his siblings there is no need to talk of his betrayal again. His brother and two sisters hug Edmond and welcome him back to the good side.

I was disappointed with the fact the lion killed the witch and not one of the protagonists. After all we are told our protagonist or hero must initiate and do what is needed to correct the problem. In C.S. Lewis’s view of Narnia, only the Lion could save Narnia. That is the writer’s voice telling his belief through the characters.

I googled C. S. Lewis, and lots of links about him and Christianity showed up. (this definitely shows my ignorance about him)

My point here is that your voice is what you believe told through your characters. Not a sermon, but how you see and interpret the world. Everyone has values, ambitions, and opinions. This is how you look at the world, everyone’s truths have an influence on their writing. When your truth comes through your character in a subtle way, it is your voice. And what we all hope is that our truths are unique enough to stand out from the crowd.

What are your ambitions, values and opinions. Whisper them into your characters ears, and create an antagonist who believes the opposite, this will create the tension you need in your WIP.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Premise, What is your story about?

I have read my how to write books, searched the Internet for premise. It finally dawned on me how to write my one sentence of what my story is about. Maybe what I have realized will help you.

I tried to write my premise from the inciting incident which is at the beginning of the book or the opening conflict. The inciting incident is what happens to cause events leading up to the protagonist's point of no return. The point of no return is what happens ¼ of the way through the novel that changes everything the hero knows. This is where the story begins. The first ¼ of your book is bringing all of the characters together. It is the normal for your character even if the character’s life changes in some way.

Your one line summary would be:

When (point of no return happens) protagonist must do something to stop antagonist or what’s at stake will happen or won’t.

Now I’m trying to figure out through lines, but that will be another post.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Loglines, log-lines, one-line summary GEESH

Have you tried to write one sentence that sums up your story? I have, and tried, and again and again. Crap.
Let me demonstrate.
A log line should include your protagonist, her goal, and what stands in her way. Let me demonstrate.

Susie wants to sell sea shells. What's standing in her way? She lives in the mountains. She needs money to buy sea shells. How is she going to raise the money to buy sea shells? She'll sell her body. Those mountain men are insatiable. Now she has a shit load of money and sets up a shell shop. Problem is with the economy, no one wants to buy her shells and the hours she puts in standing around are tiresome. She needs to rest.

In struts Johnny Walker. He doesn't want sea shells. Susie has a chance to lay down for 100 bucks and about 20 minutes of her time. Now her goal has changed, screw the shells.

 Lets write what this story is about in one sentence:


Susie's shell business is put on hold when Johnny Walker enters her shop and asks for cherry pie.

No, that's not it.

When Susie realizes selling shells is hard work, she lays down on the job and stops shining her shells because she's takin' a shinin' to somebody else.

NO, that's not it either.


When Susie Sunshine opens up a shell shop, Johnny Walker demands more time and Susie feels obligated to give it to him.

No

Oh Wait, Susie's real goal is to earn money. I think she's doing a hell of a job. Do you think an agent will ask for more pages?