She's Not British

I got a lovely little historical MG novel at the library the other day. It has the most beautiful descriptions of the ocean, and a great voice from a displaced 11-year-old refugee. It's one of those quiet books that draws you in. Definitely hard to put down, but in an elegant way. As I said, lovely.

It was a very bad idea.

I'm trying to write a new scene for Those Who Trespass, which means going back to the rough-draft-I'm-so-creative stage. The stage where I write with commas and sentence fragments that are paced very quickly, because I'm writing {and the reader is reading} at the pace of my thoughts, and my thoughts, in a first-person suspense novel, are very fast.

My thoughts, while reading a lovely WWII novel with ocean despcriptions...are not fast. At all.

Poor Jenn is enduring sentences that go on for two lines. Yes, there are lots of commas, but they are the wrong sort of comments. She sounds British. {She's not.} She sounds particularly observant. {She's not.} She sounds like she's demure. {She's sarcastic. She's snarky.}

I had such goals of getting this book finished in October! {Still possible goals, provided I glue myself to that word .doc, but that's difficult when the only words I'm typing are lovely ones, not snarky ones.} Finishing it, sending it off, all in October.

And now Jenn is talking like she's from Great Britain, and I'm trying to write the most emotional scene of my life, and, all in all, it's frustrating.

But I'll get it. I always do. It will take time, and it will take focus. {Yes, I have Shiny New Ideas. Oodles of them, thanks to A Countess Below Stairs and Downton Abbey.} It will take me sacrificing my sanity {you know, that thing I do have when I don't agonize over words for hours every day}. But it is possible. It is within my reach.

The moral of the story is - don't ready pretty historical fiction books when you're trying to write scenes for fast-paced YA. Believe me, it messes with your voice.

How about you? Does reading other books affect your voice?

1 comment:

Faith E. Hough said...

LOL, this has happened to me, too. Although I write historical fiction, so it's often the other way around! Good luck!