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Wednesday, August 17, 2016
World Building For All Genres - Part 1 - Janet Lane Walters #worldbuilding #tone #voice
“Come into my parlor said the spider to the fly.” That’s how I feel when I start a new story. What a writer does is begin a web of dreams and invite readers to share their vision. No matter what your genre or subgenre you’ve chosen the need to make the dream as enticing as possible.
How many write strictly contemporary romance? Do you add elements of mystery, suspense or a touch of the supernatural?
How many write only historical with no additions? Do some of you add touches of mystery, suspense or paranormal to your stories?
How many write paranormal stories? Are there elements of mystery, suspense or romance in your tales?
How many write young adult? Do the elements mentioned above creep into your stories?
No matter what genre you’ve chosen with or without added elements, you need to spin your web of dreams with care. Why?
My contemporary, historical, mystery, or paranormal won’t be the same as yours.
This brings me to a point for you to take away with you. We hear a lot about voice and tone. Are they the same thing? I don’t think so.
Voice belongs to the author and is influenced by the author’s education, life experience, social status, where they grew up, careers and those symbols that reoccur in their stories. I once heard Debra Dixon speak on the writer’s voice and realized certain elements frequently crept into my stories.
Tone belongs to the story. Each genre or subgenre has a particular aura. After picking up a historical romance, in the first few paragraphs, a reader should be drawn into that particular time period. He or she should recognize the genre. I don’t mean the little heading stating Scottish Highlands, 1426. I mean words like Bagpipes droned. Kilts swirled. The clang of broadswords filled the air. These are the kind of words that shout, this is a historical.
I once read a blurb for a book that sounded interesting. Wish I could remember what attracted me to buy. The book was billed as a romantic suspense with a touch of paranormal. I seldom write suspense but I enjoy reading them. Three chapters into the book and I found no suspense, no mystery, no paranormal bits. I could have stopped reading after the first page. The pacing read like a cozy romance and a non-fiction tome on the television industry.
So let’s look at some examples of the tones of some genres. Some of the stories will be my own.
Liara closed the Lore of the Jewels. Everyone knew the ruling Jewel was Black. Her foster mother had given her the book on her last name day. Tana’s insistence that she learn the legends puzzled Liara. What use were these mythical tales to one who might never hold a Jewel?
YA From The Quest For The White Jewel by Janet Lane Walters
Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy pushed his way through the crowd gathered at the entrance to the modest office building. Murder always drew a crowd in New Your City, even in respectable neighborhoods.
Mystery from Murder on
by Victoria Thompson.
When two gentlemen are closely related by blood, they do not exactly address each other with formality. In this case, however, the gentlemen in question were first cousins once removed. The younger had come from nowhere to inherit a title and fortune the older had assumed would be his and their relationship had been formally announced moments after they had come within a sword slice of killing each other.
Historical from The Rake by Mary Jo Putney.
He crouched in the cemetery that embraced three sides of the hillside parking lot across from
. A massive
family marker shielded him from view, yet allowed him a clear view of the
steps, the street and the doors of the Emergency Room. Dark clouds slid across
the surface of the moon. Lights, set high on poles around the perimeter of the
lot sent finger shadows groping among the cars. Bradley Memorial
Suspense from Code Blue by Janet Lane Walters
Andrew Sinclair circled the room like a caged tiger. He tried to relax but one look at the bed and he felt a stab of guilt so deep it made him physically ill. He wanted to punish himself so he gazed again at the delicate lines of her naked form outlined beneath the white sheet. The morning sun cast an ethereal glow over her face that made her look like an angel. He brushed a strand of hair off her cheek. Her skin felt like satin.
From Caitlan’s Choice by Kat Attalla
On a world that was one of a number in an alternate time stream in a country known to its people as Khaddershai, there was a sudden shimmering in the air. It was late morning at the end of spring when a portal opened. Two men came through dressed in clothing that was hard to look at directly, riding non-descript bay horses.
From The Questing Road by Lyn Mc Conchie