What voice?

January 4, 2007

I have two distinct voices when it comes to writing, and they are at odds with one another.

Voice One is melancholy, somber, contemplative. I write in this voice typically when I’m working on a piece in the 1st person. Voice Two is much more fun…breezy…almost a part of the “Chick Lit” chorus. Voice Two feels more comfortable when I’m writing in 3rd person.

It’s a minor struggle for me to choose which voice best tells the story I am wanting to tell, which of these voices would appeal most to a reader…and which voice I can sustain through the whole piece. Moreover, I worry a bit about being authentic. I’d hate for someone to read something of mine one day and think, “Wait a minute here. She used to be funny! What’s with the gloomy gus routine?!”

What’s better? To pick a voice and stick with it, or to be flexible and use differing tones for different pieces? Not sure yet, but I’m working on it.

Hmmm, how to sign off on this post:

“My goodness, I apologize,” I murmured, frowning. “I must go. But know that I am thinking of you.” —> voice 1

or

“Okey dokey, artichokey!” she cried merrily, waving her hand. “Catch you later.” –> voice 2

Do you wear short shorts?

January 3, 2007

I just read a great piece on how to get published, and I thought I’d share it with any of you out there who are, like me, hoping that 2007 is the Year of the Finished Novel.

Essentially, the plan is to write lots of short stories (between 1,000-8,000 words) and even more “short shorts” (between 500-1,000 words).  You submit these, get them published–if you are really lucky, maybe you even get paid something.  Then, when you are looking for an agent for THE NOVEL, you have a list of places where you’ve been published.

(Evidently, blogging isn’t enough.  Huh.  Blogging isn’t enough.  I’ve got to remember that.)

So, Goal # 3 for the New Year: put together a portfolio of two good shorts, and 3 good short shorts.

littleearthquakes.jpg

A friend gave me Jennifer Weiner’s book, Little Earthquakes, to read. I was glad she did, too, because this isn’t a book I’d have pulled off the shelf on my own, and so by her passing it on, I got to read something that was fresh and new to me.

The book centers on four women who are all new moms (well, three of them are…one of the women has lost her baby to SIDS…a tragedy). The notion is that new motherhood is terrifically difficult–much more so than we may be led to believe by a society that focuses on which stroller or diaper bag we should register for, or which darling outfit we’ll bring the baby home in…that kind of thing. The truth is, the first year of motherhood is baptism by fire.

For some (like myself) early motherhood is an exercise in humility, in self-doubt, and most of all, an exercise in extreme, relentless exhaustion. Jennifer Weiner captures all of this well. She chronicles with humor how strangers and family members alike offer up well-meaning advice, and how it invariably leads one to feel resentment…as in “Thank you very much for your opinion…now beat it.”

This book is an amusing and warm read, even if you are not a mom. If you are a new mom, well then, enjoy this during one of your 3:00 a.m. feedings. You’ll find something of yourself in one (if not all) of the characters.