SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO STEP BACK TO REALLY SEE

July 23, 2008 at 5:40 am 6 comments

I’ve preached to you about voice before. I’ll do it another million times until it sinks in or until someone tells me to shut up. Yet, voice is like the brain. One of the most amazing things known to man that really can’t be explained on how it works or how it doesn’t work. You can give advice on how to make it better. How to let it just be. It’s also much like the brain because the more you learn (experience) the more refined it gets.

I found something on my hardrive last night that just blew my socks off. It could be that I’m writing my first crap draft and nothing I write impresses me. That’s fine. I’m just trying to get to the end. I’m trying to do the whole “Write the first draft from your heart” thing. *Finding Forrester (sp?) reference* I’m worried about a million things. Most importantly I’m worried is my voice coming out. I know I tend to stifle heck out of mine. So, I was avoiding the WIP. I’d written for the day already. I could do more, but I just didn’t want to.

So, what I do in times like this? I tempt myself by opening incomplete mss. (Am I the only writer who does this?) I found one labeled “Short Story”. I’m thinking it’s the one I wrote for a contest ages ago. I open it and find this instead:

“Most people believe that life starts the moment you leave the womb, your first shaky breath; or much further in time than that, when the egg meets the sperm. I disagree. For me, life starts the moment reality is no longer an idea, but the truth as you know it.”

Hmm, interesting. I do not remembering writing this. *here’s the key, sit up* But it SOUNDS like me. I kept reading:

“When you are standing in a supermarket line and your mind is filled with worries and then your gaze meets the cashier you see the same troubled expression you’re wearing. You might think to yourself, “it’s not just me.” That realization to me is much more poignant than when you take your first breath. In a way it is no longer about you, it’s about human kind. That may be a grandiose idea to some, but to me it’s my reality.”

Yup, that’s me. Run-on sentences were my favorite back in the day. Plus, someone call the grammar police. I’m about the only person I know who would use grandiose, because I like the way it rolls off the tongue. But now I’m intrigued. What in the heck was I writing this for?:

“The day my life really started I was sixteen. Going about my life like most teenagers. Death always in the near future if I didn’t get the ‘it’ shoes of the week or if my boyfriend continued to refuse to take me to go see the latest chick movie. All of it so insignificantly unimportant, but before my life began it was all I knew.”

A YA? Did Pam not just squeal? But really, me and a YA? I must have been drunk. Again, I’m the only person who will use “insignificantly unimportant” in the same sentence. It’s the whole roll off your tongue thing. I’m not that big of a fan of “omit useless words”. That’s a word choice thing that can be used effectively when done right and not done too often.

But again what in the fifth ring of hell was I writing this for?:

“My parents were a means to an end. Cardboard characters who either stood in my way of what I wanted or providers of my every whim. It was that summer of ’96 that once again they gave me life without meaning to.”

Hmmmmmmmm, sounds literary. Plus, am I the only one who noticed that shabby transition? Anyway, I must have been having one of those freaky Girls From the Basement moments. For a newbie I had a hold on foreshadowing? And hot damn, I hear me. I haven’t really heard me in a very long time. That’s something to celebrate even thought I don’t remember writing this for the life of me, but I know just by reading it IT’s me. Hot diggity dog:

“My mother, a quiet woman, strong in some ways and weak in many others, committed suicide.”

WHAT THE HOLY HELL FROM MOUNT ZION? Outside of the overuse in commas that’s pretty damn grabbing. It’s not just the idea of a sixteen year old dealing with her mother’s suicide. It’s how it’s presented. The word choice. Heck her world view. Thank you, GITB. *Girls in the Basement*

This post may have sounded vain to you up until this point, but seriously I learned something from reading these 250 words. I shut up that internal editor. I can tell you now that I’ve had aspirations to write YA. *Pam, you can stop squealing now* But I have no idea how to go about writing one. When I penned these words I had to be trying something new. Or a scene hit me in a flash and I rushed to write it down. I’m not sure if this has ever happened to you, but it’s kind of like a part of you shuts down. The words are coming faster than you can write them. It’s scary. It’s exhilarating. It’s the only time that question in the back of your mind “is my voice coming through” doesn’t even register. Which is usually when your voice shines the brightest.

The point *you know it takes me forever to get to one* my friends is that I didn’t write this with the rules grammar, craft, or genre in mind. I just wrote. To be honest those things *craft, grammar and genre* can be fixed, but you cannot fix something that isn’t broke.

That folks is voice.

Go dig deep on your hardrive and tell me what you found. (I’m hoping your voice)

So, I’m off to take my own advice.

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Entry filed under: not sure what to label this as, voice.

FINDING LA NORA LEARNING TO WRITE OPENINGS BY WATCHING MOVIES

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. raine  |  July 23, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Yes, lots of unfinished examples of my voice, and snippets of stories, and complete mss that didn’t work, and me being deathly serious and literary, and me tossing stuff off the top of my head. Why I keep them I’m not sure, but there they are.

    I think you should consider the YA. 😉
    Good post.

  • 2. Melissa Blue  |  July 23, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    and me being deathly serious and literary

    Lol. Yeah, I think every writer has at least one of those types of stories. Then a genre hits them.

    I think you should consider the YA. 😉

    You know I always wanted to write one, so who knows what might happen.

  • 3. Tabitha C. Maine  |  July 23, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    LOVE IT!
    “Most people believe that life starts the moment…For me, life starts the moment reality is no longer an idea, but the truth as you know it.”

    DOUBLE LOVE IT!
    “When you are standing in a supermarket line and your mind is filled with worries and then your gaze meets the cashier you see the same troubled expression you’re wearing…”

    I agree with Raine. I thought to myself, after reading a posting about your kids, that you should write a YA book. I could feel the love when you talked about your children, very special. I third the idea for you writing YA.

  • 4. Pam  |  July 23, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    SQUEAL!!!

    I LOVE IT!!!!

    (7 days…)

  • 5. Melissa Blue  |  July 23, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Tabitha, more and more I’m leaning towardss writing a YA. I don’t know what’s going to be the catalyst. (Finding this snippet definitely helped.) But who knows when.

  • 6. Melissa Blue  |  July 23, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Pam, I was thinking of you the whole time I wrote this post. I’m sure if no one else will, you’ll hog tie me down into writing one.

    And, yes, 7 MORE DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!

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