WHEN I WRITE PART TWO
Posted on October 9, 2012
Wit, warmth and worry are also elements always on my mind when I write. To me, they add the heart and soul to the piece.
Wit is always in my work, even in Overrun, my zombie novel. Amidst the violence and terror, I still find time to inject a bit of wit. Yes, it's not as goofy as the puns and word play I evoke in my other projects, but it's still there, giving life to the story.
When I wrote Flame and Fortune, my intention was to have the narrative voice be a little snarky and akin to Douglas Adams. Well, halfway through the story, the narrative whimsy evaporated and the strong high adventure tone took over. After finishing the book, and conferencing with my beta readers, I decided that since I didn't continue the humor all the way to the end, it needed to be taken out. Now, having revised it out, I see that the humor embedded in the dialogue rises to the surface and carries the narrative.
As I worked on Ned Firebreak, I wanted the narration to have a lightness to it. So far, it's been consistent and a refreshing element in the story. We'll see if it stays a part of the narrative to the end. I think it will. It's not as invasive and self-aware as the humor I placed originally into Flame and Fortune.
Wit runs through all my books, from Flenn's lively back-and-forth with her smart mouthed map in Graham 2 to the wonderful scene in Norton the Vampire where our hero's quest is derailed by a moat monster looking to retire and get out of the business of swimming in circles and getting nowhere.
Warmth exists in my work as I approach each cast as a family whether they're truly related or not. I find I can create warmth through support, conflict and peril. In Graham 2, Graham shares the spotlight with his sister, Flenn. Chapters vacillate from both of their points of view throughout the piece. The warmth they have between each other is explored from their perspectives and it yields a story that is emotionally glued tight and trots along at a robust pace.
In Irving Wishbutton, as Irving finds out more about himself,he starts to look outward at his supporting cast and care about more than his own identity and place in the story. There is a warmth that evolves in that series that leaves me excited and proud to see the living narrative I have brought to life in his story.
When I say worry, it really comes down to conflict and strife, but neither one of those began with a W and I really wanted to carry through with my alliteration in this post.
Worry creates change, it causes the characters to get up and interact. It's a driving force that pushes the reader forward. Many times in a story, I ask myself if worry has rear its ugly head lately. If it hasn't, then I reflect back on the piece's rhythm and weigh whether it's the right time to shove a little worry my characters' way. In most cases the answer is yes. But sometimes the answer is no. No because your characters need a little breathing room, a respite or a chance for some good to enter their tale. Usually I hold off on the extra good good until the end, but a sprinkling of good fortune throughout keeps my work popping and avoids approaching bleakness or lethargy.
Juggling wit, warmth and worry gets me inspired to write every time. What's even more exciting is when each manifests without me planning them to show up. When that happens, it feel like a happy coincidence, which is the topic of my next little When I Write entry.