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Friday, August 28, 2009

This Sock Can Talk!

Okay, I know, it's a lame picture, but it is foot-related, and my creative juices have been zapped by a chapter I'm reworking because of some minor plot discrepancies. Besides, it's my birthday, and no one should have to think too hard on their birthday, should they? At any rate, I do have a point to make. I've spent this week talking about what makes a work stand out from the masses. Many of you have commented that voice is the most important thing. I agree, which is why I saved it for last. Most of you know, as I've mentioned before, that my characters tend to run away with my story. This is not to say that voice comes easily. Actually, voice is something I struggle with, especially when the adult in my head starts arguing with the teen characters about everything. Strong voice is imperative, though, and if we want our writing to stand apart from the rest, we all must strive to achieve it. How do you get the inner you to sit down and shut up so that your characters can be heard? And, yes, it's Friday. So, it's time for the next recipient of the The Silver Shoe of Sincerity Award. There is only one rule, and that is: if you choose to pass it on (which I hope you do), please do so to someone who you find to be sincere in their blogging activity. This week's recipient is Janna Qualman, author of Something She Wrote. She positively interacts in all ways, and her posts move me emotionally. Sometimes I cry; sometimes I laugh; sometimes I cry because I'm laughing so hard; and sometimes I just stop and think. If you don't already follow Janna, go check out her blog. Have a great weekend full of setting, plot, conflict, and, of course, voice!

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday!

NWA

Jill Kemerer said...

Happy Birthday!!

I can only imagine the internal arguing between the adult in you and the teens in your writing--good luck!

Strange Fiction said...

Happy Birthday LW! Enjoy your day!

Congrats to Janna!

Kristen Torres-Toro @ Write in the Way said...

Hey, Susan! I'm headed over to Something She Wrote now! Thanks for the link!

Happy Birthday! How great that it's on a weekend! I hope it's a wonderful one!

Hmm... I'm in the beginning stages of this again. It's the initial brainstorming phase. I've discovered that it's different with every book. Do you have that problem too?

Jungle Mom said...

Have a great birthday!!!

quixotic said...

Have a great Birthday!!

FictionGroupie said...

Happy Birthday!!!

I think (hope) voice is one of my strengths. I don't struggle with it as much as the other things you talked about this week. Maybe because deep down I'm still a snarky teenager. :) However, I do have trouble with making sure my characters sound different from each other.

Janna Qualman said...

Thank you so much, LW, for the silver shoe! Do you suppose it would look dandy with the yoga pants and faded tee I'm wearing? ;) I really appreciate the kind things you said. Thanks again.

And it seems my voice is much easier to fall into on my blog. I don't know why, because they are so so similar to my novel writing voice. I guess the difference is that the blog relates to me, and the novel relates to my characters. It just takes a mental pep talk and, sometimes, rereading the last scene or two to feel the flow again.

Beth said...

I don't struggle so much with getting my "inner you" to sit down, as much as I do with my "outer you". I need to glue my butt to the chair! :) Hope your birthday is extra special!

Faith said...

Oooh Happy Birthday!!! I hope it brings you much cake & ice cream, as well as the best present of all... solved plot discrepancies! YAY!

As for my 'inner me'... I think that's something I'm still working on. I know my current WIPs need some fixing up in terms of voice, so I'm hoping to take a new approach as I edit and really focus on voice. We'll see how it goes. :)

storyqueen said...

Happy Birthday! Friday birthdays are the best because you can drag the festivities on for the entire weekend!

For me, getting the voice right at the beginning of the book is very important. Once I find what the voice wants to be, it is much easier to write the rest of the book.

Shelley

Stephanie Faris said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!! You deserve a day to do whatever you want. Of course, if writing is what you want to do, go for it.

Karen said...

Happy Birthday!

I, too, this voice in the most important part of writing. It's about how your characters speak and the word choice you use as you tell your story. It's what separates story-tellers from writers.

Lori said...

Oh, Janna is so deserving of the award! And the voice... I think that's always there, even when it's hard to see.

kavita said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU....HOPE YOUR DREAM OF PUBLISHING A BOOK OF YOUR OWN COMES OUT TRUE BEFORE YOUR NEXT BIRTHDAY...

Dominique said...

Happy Birthday. :D

Heather Sunseri said...

Happy Birthday!!!!!!

I really struggle to get my inner self to shut up at times.

Congratulations to Janna! Have a great weekend.

ElanaJ said...

First happy birthday! Second, good luck with your personal argument. For me, I think it starts with just letting yourself write. Whatever may come out, just let it. Then you can look at it later with the internal editor hat on and decide if it should stay.

B.J. Anderson said...

Happy Birthday and congrats to the winner!

Jody Hedlund said...

Hope you have a wonderful birthday! And yes, you definitely shouldn't have to think on your b-day!!

Rae said...

Happy Birthday. No go have some cake and ice cream. Do your writing and thinking later.

K. M. Walton said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

I just had my friend read my 'just finished book' and she found a few places where she heard my voice and not the mc's. I went back and re-read and completely agreed. So, I hear you on that point.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN!!!!

Patti said...

sometimes I find voice hard to identify, but when you get it right, it makes your book so much better.

Patti said...

Oh and by the way Happy Birthday.

Anna C. Morrison said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! love the sock puppet :)

Cindy said...

Happy Birthday! And yay, Janna! What a great choice for the award. Have a great weekend.

Kathy said...

I think it's a cute sock puppet picture!

And Happy Birthday!

And thank you for always coming by and leaving comments on my blog.

Lily said...

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Susan,
Happy Birthday to you!

OK, you can turn the speakers back on now...

Diane said...

Happy Birthday and yes your brain deserves a day off too. Hope you were able to enjoy! :O)

#167 Dad said...

Happy Birthday.
Will make it a point to check out Janna's blog...

Lazy Writer said...

Thanks everyone! I had a great birthday. I'm reposting the link to Something She Wrote tomorrow because someone pointed out that it wasn't working. Sorry, Janna!

Tabitha Bird said...

Happy birthday Susan. I have been trying all day to get on your blog. For some reason your blog does not like me:) When I load the page often the comments section won't load. Anyway, I am here now and I wanted to say thanks for your comments on my blog, have a great day and a wonderful weekend.
Tab

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Happy Belated Birthday.
It may sound silly but sometimes I feel like an actress getting into character before I write in order to get an accurate voice.
~ Wendy

Jennifer Major said...

happy birthday!!! You most definately deserve a break. But, I disagree, it should be the entire weekend. Hope you get a little pampering from your family.

Terri Tiffany said...

HAPPY HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! ANd I love Janna and what you said about her posts is so true:))

Weronika said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Susan! I wish you all the best for this next year, including lots of health, writing-related success, excitement, and appropriate downtime.

As for voice, you've got it. (PS: I love the picture.)

Wend's Place said...

Happy Birthday! Love the sock

Glynis said...

Happy belated Birthday!

Kathryn Magendie said...

oh! Congrats to Janna, she is all those things YAYYY JANNA!

and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to YOU!

WhisperingWriter said...

Happy Birthday!!!

That sock picture made me giggle.

Kathryn Magendie said...

SO! do you have a forehead butt?

I'm laughing so much at the comments on this post - I didn't think it would be this much fun!

Dawn VanderMeer said...

Happy belated birthday, Susan! I'm so glad it was great! :)

Anonymous said...

Your birthday was the happiest day of my life! Only one anonymous, probably, could say that. Hope you have had a very happy weekend. Keep up the good work I am proud of you.

Jenn Johansson said...

You say it's your birthday!
It's my birthday too yeah! (not really)
They say it's your birthday!
We're gonna have a good time!
I'm glad it's your birthday!
Happy Birthday do you! :D

Also, congrats Janna! It's so sparkly!

Okay, I've officially used all exclamation marks I've been allotted for the week. I'd better be going now. :P

Barrie said...

Happy Belated Birthday! I'm an August baby too!

Amy Tate said...

Happy Birthday Miss Susan! Gosh, I hate that I'm late, girl. I hope your weekend was fantastic! This is going to sound really weird, but I compare writing to playing with Barbie dolls. When I was a kid, I played Barbies for hours and hours with my sisters. And I was probably way past the Barbie playing age. But when I write, it's like playing with Barbies all over again. Sometimes I'd "work" one doll, and my sister would be in charge of another. When I write, I try to concentrate on one character at a session, and I completely throw myself into that "doll" (whether it's Ken or some girl Barbie) I know, I know, I'm weird! But for me, it works. Hope your family spoiled you good for your birthday!

daiqianwen said...

nice sock!