Friday, April 16

Openings and Voice

Posted by Shelly Holder

I have recently been trying to type up all my random scraps of paper in anticipation for The Big Move over to the new apartment-- with it's lovely lovely bookcases and heart-stopping file cabinets-- so I don't just transfer my crap from one location to another but actually DEAL WITH IT.

It's a process. I am currently losing.

But what struck me as I was typing up another fiction WIP is that my openings have become remarkably similar. Compare this paragraph, written 10 months ago:

Romeo clicked the refresh button, and waited for a new case to appear on the browser. It didn't, so she clicked again. Nope. Still nothing. So far, she had clicked forty-eight times in the last sixty seconds, but she was determined to continue clicking until she hit either something worthwhile or her lunch break. She would prove to the chief that her division, her degree, and her job, and the new division of Forensic Magics were all worthwhile. And so she clicked again. Forty-nine, fifty…

  with this, written a week ago:

            As soon as he walked into the parlor, I might have thrown myself at my lover with a wild, glomping kiss and stayed there suctioned on like some unattractive sea creature.
            Just might have, mind. I admit to nothing in particular.
            Needless to say, I was not experienced in this department. I was rather inexperienced in most things-- alright! completely inexperienced, if you must know!-- but romance was my most pressing deficiency. My lover did not excel either, unfortunately, but for entirely different reasons. He peeled me off, and then proceeded to peel off his gloves with the same economy of motion-- and emotion.  

and this, written two days ago:

           I thought friends' boyfriends were safe. That was my trouble. I thought since they were so obviously taken -- dating my best friends for goodness' sake!-- then a friendship with them wouldn't be misconstrued. Joking, teasing, etc wouldn't be seen as flirting and simple happiness to be around them wouldn't be seen as anything more serious. But I was idealistic, and that was my trouble.  

I find it intriguing that I used a dash to indicate a interjected thought in the opening paragraph of two recent works, when ten months ago I was doing nothing of the kind. Although my fragments are a very integral part of my writing style, the dash trick is new. I wonder, if I tried to sell both, would one or both of my stories get rejected because they are TOO similar? 

But that's a low priority. First, I need to finish both of these-- or rather, all three of these. Then I worry about sending them out and publication and rejection and all the strategies that plague too much of my time. 

For now, I'm just focusing on finishing. And developing my "voice." 

What trends do you see emerging in your recent work?  

Write Now:  
What I'm listening to: "She's Trouble" by Frou Frou
What I want most: snacks!