Tag Archive | voice

Authorial Intent & Readers

First, when speaking of authorial intent, I’m not talking about when you write a tragic love scene but somehow everyone who reads it is laughing hysterically when they should be crying.That is craft and beyond the scope of this 🙂

No, for today, we’re talking about the task of trying to figure out what a passage means (as dictated by the author), or who a poet is writing to. You know, fun stuff.

But is it? I know in college we had to play these games, and back it up with “proof” from the manuscript, but the truth of the matter is… None of it mattered. Not one whit, to my reader self.

My reader self saw a line from one of the cannon and went “oh”, quiet and small in the beauty of the phrase. I wasn’t concerned about the implications of the phrase, about who the narrator was speaking to, or any of that.

I was wrapped in the beauty of the words.

And that is what, ultimately, we writers want. We want readers to become wrapped up in our worlds, our words.

Does it matter to you who I wrote the following to:

 

We danced in
the kitchen,
sunshine just
kissing the sky.
The whole world
wrapped in my arms.
We sang your
favorite lullabye
before the day came
to take us our
separate
ways.

 

Does it matter who I wrote it to? What I wrote it about? Or does it ultimately matter more what you get from reading it? As writers, we map a journey. We do it artfully, with any luck, but we map it out. The reader must take the journey.

So.

Authorial intent.

I never really cared who Shakespeare wrote his sonnets to. I only wished someone loved me enough to try and pretend they had written one for me LOL

 

Have a wonderful weekend, my lovelies, filled with writing or reading. Or both.

 

 

Changing Voice

Picture this: Your favorite author writes a series that you love. You love his/her work. Then a new book, a new series comes out.

And you hate it.

As a reader I hate it when that happens. Beth Bernobich finished one series, then her next book was actually a collection of interconnected stories. She went from fantasy to steampunk. I like both genres… but I hated the second one. Did not care for it. At. All. The voice was too different from the one I fell in love with.

Sometimes a series can shift and change underneath you. I loved L.E. Modesitt’s Imager series. The last two… not so much. But the very last one… nope. The voice was the same, but the story fell flat. The voice was…stagnant.

As a reader, we can identify these things and bemoan the horrors! But as authors, we need to take careful notes. Some authors can skip through genres, or even different tones in the same genre (fantasy and romance are famous for that) and do it successfully. Others not so much. Some can write in the same tone over and over and still achieve the stretching that keeps writing fresh.

Because as writers, we do have to stretch. We need to reach with our writing, either in scope, genre or voice. Even if they never see the light of day, we need to keep honing our skills. Patrick Rothfuss wrote what ended up being the best non-story story I’ve ever read (The Slow Regard of Silent Things). While set in the world that his series is in, it is completely different. Rothfuss has taken a lot of flack for it, but here’s the thing. I think he probably would have written it regardless of whether or not it was published. Many mocked him for the “apology” that he prefaced his work with. I say this: he merely let rabid fans know that this was not what they were waiting for. It had meaning, but it was substantially different.

So what’s the answer? I don’t have it… but I know this much. The story I’m starting on now might have light and fluffy parts to it. But at it’s core it’s something different than what I’ve been writing lately. If  it’s published, cool. If not, at least I will have strengthened those writing muscles.

Till next time, my lovelies!

Guest Post: The Creative You

Please give a warm welcome to fellow pirate Steven Southard . You can catch him over at his blog, here, where he has been kind enough to interview several of his fellow authors (including me! )

Steve Southard photo

Thanks, Wynelda, for this opportunity. In one of your blog posts [April 21, 2014], you explained why you write, and I liked the part where you said you write because you “have to. A compulsion, a spilling forth of part of your soul…” I’d like to extend that further.

My theory is that everyone, everybody (yes, I’m looking at you, Reader!) has a similar, soul-born compulsion. Not necessarily the compulsion to grab a keyboard and pound out a novel, but an inner drive to create something.

For some of you, it’s a story; we humans love stories. For others it’s an abstract thought, an idea.   Whichever it is, you then turn to the problem of expression, of conveying that inner notion to others. Some turn to sculpture or painting. Others turn to music or dance. A few turn to writing. There are many creative outlets and each of you finds one to try.

Your first attempts are earnest, fueled by that soul-spark, but also a bit tentative and maybe even playful.

Then the problem starts. You get partway done, or maybe all finished, and you gaze at what you’ve made. You hate it. The real-life creation is nothing like you imagined. It’s crap. You know others would hate it too.

Moment of Truth time. What are you going to do now? Will you conclude, as with a thousand other failures in your life, you gave it a try, but you’re obviously no good at this?

Or will your inner fire find a voice that pushes through your feelings of inadequacy and disappointment? That voice might say, “I’m still here, deep inside. I’m not going anywhere, so you’re going to have to deal with me. Either put in more practice at what you’re doing, or find some other creative outlet, ‘cause I’m here to stay, and I’m going to shout even louder from now on.”

What will you do in your moment of truth? The world is out here hoping you’ll listen to your soul.

Book Review: A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent

 

Anyone who knows me, based on the title and cover of this book, would think that I would be stark raving bonkers over it. Madley, passionately letting my inner geek out to play with the dragons.

Eh. Not so much.

This is one of those novels that I circled around forever. Sometimes, when I finally bite it is a great read. This time, it was a pretty good story, but the voice in it kind of… hmm… how to explain it.

The voice of the character is spot on. Isabella is writing after a long career, obtaining and sharing knowledge of her beloved dragons. A pragmatic scientist in a country and time that didn’t allow easily for women to do such… well… she finds a way. Through her husband.

Using Lady Trent’s voice is both brilliant and little bit off putting. There are clues hidden here and there, among things that she says to her readers or about her editors. Things that contemporaries of hers would know, but we the reader wouldn’t. Such as the following:

(SPOILER ALERT BELOW>> SPOILER ALERT BELOW)

The careful reader will remember that she signs the preface as Isabella, Lady Trent. But her husband wasn’t anything beyond a Mr. Hmmm….. I knew what was coming before it did, but even still…. it just was… too remote.

The voice, however, also puts a wall between action and emotion. It’s a little old fashioned that way. I wasn’t as intently invested in this book as I have been in others simply because of that wall. I may be a lazy reader, but I just didn’t feel like breeching the wall and taking apart the book piece by piece.

I did end up reading it all the way through— if it had been atrocious there was no way that that would happen.

Mixed feelings on this one, peeps. Have any of you read it? What did you think? Have you read any books that you couldn’t decide if they were good or not?