I have a story that is itching for me to start editing it. I am purposefully ignoring that itch. I wrote it last week after a flurry of research on Norther Native tribes. It was supposed to be something else, but the voice of the story demanded something a little more complex than a simple rite of spring. Instead of a bit of erotica, it turned darker into a glimpse of the death of a world. I am letting the story sit on purpose. It needs some work. I need to dig a little deeper into what is going on before I edit it. I want to wait until that voice sternly tells me what to do.
For some, this might seem a bit confusing. Isn’t story about plot, setting and character, not the voice? Well, in some respects it is; some respects it isn’t. Plot, setting and character are what makes a story but the voice and tone are what attracts a reader to want more of your writing. Voice and tone are the more individual points of writing.
Take a segment out of any of your favorite authors and read how they use words. Even in similar passages, each author will write differently. Some use shorter sentences, others will wind words around several lines. Adverbs, adjectives and phrases are used differently. Even how an author describes a character will be different. This is an author’s voice.
As a writer it is important to recognize this voice and to nurture it. It takes a while to realize that your voice is this cadence of words and stream of lines, but eventually it starts talking to you. It takes your ideas, your characters your settings and tells you what to put on a page. It shows you how to put things together and take them apart.
In other news, the Shock Totem challenge was a great success. Congratulations to Steven Pirie for first place, dgrintalis27 for second and sophieplayle 23 for third. Great job to everyone who submitted a story and critiqued. I must say that writing critiques, even just a few lines, for 30 stories gives you an idea of what a slush reader sees. The critiques are very useful for all of us. Myself I am going to do some picking apart of my own and other stories this weekend.
As I said above, I am leaving one story to set for a bit, but I have several other shorts to work on. One for Crossed Genres for an Eastern (meaning Oriental) story, and maybe something for the Jim Baen writing contest this weekend. I know I am cutting it close with both of those deadlines, but I don’t have the kids this week and I hope I can pull something off.
Another great idea from the people of Crossed Genres has even my boys excited is the Science in My Fiction contest. I am going to narrow down some ideas in the next two weeks and give the boys a chance to help me with a story. My oldest had stars in his eyes when we watched the quick video of the challenge. He immediately fired off several ideas. My youngest was countering with ideas of his own. I might have to pick two. 🙂