Sunday, February 24, 2008

It's not what you write, it's how you say it

I've been looking at stuff, done different ways. Weird when you have one basic storyline, but lots of different people doing it. It opens your eyes to the possibilities--then again, it says a lot about voice and style.

These sentences all have the same content and information.

She gazed into his sexy royal blue eyes that were rimmed in thick sooty lashes she wanted to touch with her tongue.
(uhm, what can I say?)

She looked into his eyes that were blue, the blue of a robin's egg that showed up around Easter, a time of new beginnings.

She gazed into his blue eyes.

His incredible ice-blue eyes hit her with a blow that made her tingle all over.

His eyes were blue.

Voltaire said, "Every style that is not a boring one is a good one." And since he's one of those long-dead masters, you gotta listen to him. Anything that doesn't make your jaw drop in disbelief works. Some sentences are slanted toward a different sub-genre. An erotic romance won't sound anything like a romantic suspense--wait, let me back that up. Sometimes they do, a romantic suspense writer can write an erotic romance, and the huge preponderance of "hot" rs out there is written proof, and an erotic writer can write rs--(see the above reason, lol) but the focus is on different things within the chosen sub-genre.

A romance slanted for say--Brava, would have a suspense subplot, but the sexual attraction between the hero and heroine would be up front and center, and a romance written for Ballantine would have the romance balanced out with the suspense. Like a proportion chart? 75/25, and 50/50.

Background tells, it's the way you "sound". Like Rosemary Edgehill, who wrote all those straight regencies for Fawcett--she took her voice over to cyber-punk sci-fi as Eluki Bas Shar and wrote Hellflower, then drifted over to mysteries and wrote the Bast series,
about a Wiccan detective. She's notably the same person, whether she's dancing a quadrille, slitting someone's throat, or lecturing on Pagan philosophy. But her voice-over works because she can tweak her proportions to match her chosen sub-genre.

I think a lot of people haven't caught that one yet. It's a proportion thing. You gotta write to fit, or find the place where you do fit.

8 comments:

Alice Audrey said...

I really need to sit down and do the highlighter thing with books from my chosen markets. That might help me get my proportions right. I'm never quite sure I've got it right.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

I get these WRONG all the time. LOL. I'm amazed I've sold anything really. I write erotic for WRP (which is more "sweet" than dirty) and sent a romantic suspense to Torrid (another erotic line for WCP) and write contemporary funny drunk Guardian Angels for Cobblestone.
The only one I got right was "Taking Command". LOL.
Knowing the market is one of my toughest challenges AND I can get too obsessed with it.

Unhinged said...

Hey, wow. You're coming across like an editor.

Weird when you have one basic storyline, but lots of different people doing it. It opens your eyes to the possibilities--then again, it says a lot about voice and style.

Do you want to host a little meme along these lines? I'd participate. I'd volunteer to host it myself, but I'm not as widely read by writerly folks who might want to try.

She gazed into his sexy royal blue eyes that were rimmed in thick sooty lashes she wanted to touch with her tongue. (uhm, what can I say?)

There's not much to say after that one but to laugh uncontrollably. Where I live, the guys DO layer on the mascara and I'm sure it wouldn't taste good. Or sexy.

Great post, by the way. I'm going to have to check out Rosemary Edgehill and her different pseudonyms.

jodi said...

lol, Unhingey--my "voice" isn't back yet. But it's not for lack of trying. A meme, huh? I might do that.

Alice Audrey said...

Actually, I've already got a similar meme in mind. Would the two of you be interested in participating?

Jeanna said...

As a kid I was positive I'd live a life of paid lunacy working for MAD Magazine. Guess it wasn't a good fit.

Unhinged said...

Bring it on, Alice!

jodi said...

sure thing, sounds good (what exactly is a meme? O_o