Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How to maintain consistent tone

My beta (first) reader said something like, "Your protagonist is a teenager, right?" I nodded. "Well, then she'd use slang--like you did here. Don't use formal speak like you do here and here." 

Um, yeah, easier said than done.

The shorter the story the easier it is to maintain a consistent tone.

Even though I clearly hear the protagonist's voice occasionally I rewrite her because she doesn't talk fancy enough for me. Why? Well, gulp, because I want my readers to know what a great writer I am. Basically, I want to show off. (This isn't a conscious decision on my part. )

However, this isn't about me--the author--it's about my character. My beta reader said by robbing the protagonist of her voice I'm weakening the story. So, now the question is how do I stop? How can learn to tell the protagonist's voice from my author's voice?

Thankfully, in a writing magazine (or a blog) I happened up the answer. What I did was search my manuscript for the tone I wanted to convey. I printed off the example and displayed it in a prominent place. This way, as I rewrite, I can refer to it. Try it; it works.

Happy writing

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