Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Angel on My Shoulder ... and Voice.

Do you remember, in the old cartoons, how they used to portray one’s conscience as a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other?

I say I always write to my readers, or with my reader in mind. I guess I don’t write like I’m talking to my readers, because I’m in my character’s skin living her life.

It’s more like I feel my imaginary reader sitting on my shoulder. She’s like my conscience. When I start feeling lazy, when I just don’t feel like pushing myself into the problems of my character, when I don’t feel like descending into all that feeling and stress of that point where it looks like all will fail, my mind sees that reader on my shoulder, waiting for my story.

I go where I need to go emotionally, because I don’t want to let her down.

Believe me, without her, I often wouldn’t. I can get lazy. :-)

Anyway, I picked up a deliciously sexy, dark paranormal the other day. The opening was dark and suspenseful and beautifully written, with demons or vampires and a brooding, sexy hero hundreds of years old.

And then, all of a sudden, there was a chatty chick-lit-voiced email in it.

Totally threw me from the story.

Voice, mood, tone ... I’m not sure what you’d call it. But it must be consistent, you know? It can be fun, light-hearted comedy, or it can be a dark, suspenseful novel. But both?

When we pull a reader into a world, we can’t suddenly change the environment around her. How would you feel if you were standing in a haunted house at midnight, enjoying the spooks and the fog and the ghosts, and you blinked, and all of a sudden you were on the beach of a bright, sunny day?

Freaked. Jarred. Confused. It just doesn’t fit.

What do you think? Maybe it’s a paranormal practice, lately, and I missed the boat.

4 bonus scribbles:

Jeremy James 9/13/2007 05:42:00 PM  

You're not referring to my WIP are you?

It's OK if you are. But *if* you are, I urge you to keep reading (or listening to the podcast as the case may be) because once the chick-lit-ish voice of the heroine gets into the same scenes as our dark, brooding anti-hero, the sparks really fly...

spyscribbler 9/13/2007 05:46:00 PM  

LOL ... no, I'm not referring to your WIP! Sounds intriguing, though! I am going to give this other author a chance, because I like her. Still bothered me, but we all have our strange, personal quirks. And the whole world may be accustomed to it, and I'm behind the times!


PS: I don't think I'd be brave enough to complain about it unless I knew she doesn't get on the internet much, and has never been to my site!

Edie 9/13/2007 10:09:00 PM  

The change of voice would throw me off too, unless there's a reason for it. I can't remember reading a book with a major voice change like that.

spyscribbler 9/13/2007 11:39:00 PM  

It was very jarring. Maybe it will work, once I've read on, but ... I was in the mood for something dark. The sudden cheery voice intruded on my mood for something dark, brooding and Bronte-ish.