Review Excerpts

Friday, April 20, 2012

All the Voices in Our Heads

I've frequently been told I write the way I talk. I've also been told that "the way I talk" = "never shutting the hell up, ever". Some people have speculated that I have gills to assist me in breathing, because I never, ever stop.

It's a fair assessment. I don't argue it. In some ways, it made it easier for me to start writing. If I just write down what's in my head, I can fill pages. Sure, a lot of it would be meaningless crap, but hey! There's got to be a few diamonds in there somewhere.

In addition to blathering on and on without ever taking a breath, I'm also a bit of a smartass. Sometimes that works to my advantage in my writing. Other times, I want to turn off the smartass switch and find it difficult. I almost feel like there's an element of my "haha, I can't believe people are actually reading this smut" voice that I don't know if I'll ever get rid of. (Note: Thank you for reading. I really do love you all, and I will strive to bring you all the smut you could ever want.)

Toning down my speaking voice was also a challenge when I really got down to cleaning up my prose. An anecdote that will lend a little backstory to my life's woes: One night in college, my two friends and I left a party (kind of drunk) to walk back to our respective dorms. One friend's dorm was closest to the party, followed by mine, followed by the other friend's. When we got to the first friend's dorm, the two of them decided to have sex with each other. Okay. Why the hell not. I didn't want to walk back to my dorm alone, so I decided to wait out in the hallway. (Ah, college.)

Unperturbed, I sprawled out on the hallway floor and grabbed my cell phone to call my best friend. I then proceeded to talk his ear off for at least an hour until my battery died. According to him, I stopped talking exactly twice - once when I got up to go to the water fountain, and once when I forgot to breathe and ran out of air. True story.

Getting to the point: I speak in run-on sentences. I never reach a period. I just keep going, and going, and then I see something interesting over here, and I talk about that, and then I want to tell you about this really cool thing that happened to me on Saturday night, but first, in order for you to understand it, I need to tell you about the friends I was with for you to truly understand, and it's a really funny story, and you should imagine me making all sorts of excited gestures and silly facial expressions as I speak, because I like to be the center of attention and I enjoy putting on a show.

Being my friend can sometimes be exhausting.

My next book has reached the final editing stages. One of the things I've learned since I've started pursuing writing more seriously, especially since I had the opportunity to work with professional editors, is that short sentences are okay. Not everything needs a conjunction. One should not abuse the comma. Periods are your friends!

Even as I read for pleasure, I can't help but take notes about what works and what doesn't. I think I've finally learned that sometimes, the old saying is true: less is more. Short sentences can carry a great impact. They can build tension.

Any technique can be abused. I'm not going to always write like this. It would get boring. It isn't me. You'd get annoyed. There is no variation. Thea yawned.

After my first book went through the rigors of editing, I found it a little difficult to get back into writing. I had all this NEW INFORMATION crammed into my head, and I was afraid of making "mistakes". I wanted to follow the rules, but I didn't want to lose my voice. There's a balance in there somewhere. I just needed to find it.

I'd like to think I'm getting better. I think I came closer to striking that balance in this upcoming book. Whether or not I'll ever completely reach it remains to be seen. For now, I just have to decide which voice in my head to listen to more.

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