Finding Your Story’s Voice

So many RULES!!!
So many RULES!!!

The rules people play by in a critique group or editing office their honest assessment about what will help you reach a broader audience – but take everything in moderation. You can have an adverb or a dialog tag, it won’t be the end of the world, it’s just a smoother story – a better story, and easier to read by more people – to read without those things.

See why you should join a critique group, HERE

https://savvystories.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/why-you-should-join-a-critique-group-you-arrogant-sob/

Don’t worry about the info dumps in chapter 1, get on to chapters 2, 3, etc., and then you’ll see where that stuff can come in naturally – or maybe not at all.

Learn about correcting info dumps HERE

https://savvystories.wordpress.com/2015/06/13/take-a-info-dump/

Then, when you’re finished, address the early chapters again, because you’ll have decided on a voice for the whole story. Often in chapter 1 we haven’t found the story’s voice yet.

What is my voice???
What is my voice???

In my story Poggibonsi, Sam is the favorite character (the MC’s assistant). She’s witty, irreverent, and often hilariously outrageous. She appears in chapter 1 but almost after half the chapter has gone by.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but

I’m probably going to open with her, let her hook the audience, and then have the stuff that happened before her appearance (the MC interacting with his wife and young daughter) come around the next morning.

Minor change overall, big improvement for the book.

Everybody loves Sam, why not serve her up first? Because it didn’t occur to me until I was 30 chapters in, that’s why.

When I finally noticed people kept saying how much they loved her.

It happens!
It happens!

Okay, I can take a hint. Eventually. When you have a star, put the star up front. Duh. But it’s even more duh-ish to stick stubbornly to your guns when the fans are telling you what they want.

They’re fans. They buy books. Give them what they want.

And by the time you’re 30 chapters in, the voice is THERE. Friends will spot it. So, maybe, will you. It’s the words and style and attitude you take when you’ve finally relaxed enough to be yourself. That doesn’t mean burping at the dinner table, it means telling a good story in a compelling manner because you are confident. That’s a great place to be as a writer and a great story to read as a reader.

“But I’m not confident!”

Maybe that’s your voice.

.

Want me to critique the first chapter of your story? SEND IT. Hit the Contact Me button and, you know, contact me. I’ll see what I can do. One lucky subscriber every month will get The Dan Treatment. (Okay, I’m the only one who calls it that.)

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He looks like he knows something, carrying that computer around, doesn’t he?
He looks like he knows something, carrying that computer around, doesn’t he?

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi” – yeah, we know. We’re trying to convince him to change that title – check out his other works here http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1425128559&sr=1-1 and check back often for interesting stuff.

8 thoughts on “Finding Your Story’s Voice

  1. […] How many of us were forced to read Tom Sawyer in school? And why does a book tend to suck when you’re forced to read it in school? Anyway, if what somebody wrote during the Ulysses S. Grant administration can still make people laugh on their iPads, they’ve done it right, and that’s my take on Twain. Not freaking Tom Sawyer, which I first saw as a musical, for god’s sake, but the stuff he did after that, the hilarious essays and speeches. The man is still quotable and timely today even if you don’t attribute the quote to him. (He had a “voice” – read about finding your voice HERE) […]

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