What did you mean?

I have read stories and books that miss one very important thing. Setting up an emotionally charged statement before it happens.  When I’m reading dialogue it can be frustrating to get to the end of a sentence only to discover my inner-voice was way off on the tone that the character was meant to be speaking in. I call this emotional tone delay. I read said dialogue, find out the tone I imagined was wrong then have to either read it or mentally replay it in the correct tone.  If it happens too often I like the book less and less and less.

How it sounds in my head as the writer isn’t necessarily the way it sounds in the readers. This is why it is so important to create a welcoming world for the reader to jump into. Show them tone and emotion instead of bludgeoning them with a tag.

“Really?” Amber said with excitement.

By putting the tag at the end, what ‘voice’ I read that in was voided. As a reader that can be annoying and then all voices sound out deadpan and the emotion is applied after the fact. It makes for some terrible visualization and fantasy.

Amber grinned and bounced on the balls of her feet. “Really?” 

Sarcasm is often lost in print if I want to convey a tone of voice shows the tone by posturing the character. My rule I’ve adopted from others: Don’t get lazy and tell the tone.

“Really?” Dale said sarcastically.  

Set it up properly so the reader knows it’s sarcasm or tags it with an appropriate action.

Dale inhaled slowly. “Really?” He rolled his eyes.

Creating the tone before the character speaks is important. This can be as long as a paragraph or as short as a few words. Setting the reader up for a smooth transition to the words lets them enjoy the story without having to “re-hear” it in their head before moving on.  So what happens if the set up is the wrong emotion conveying action?

Scott tilted his head to the side. “Really?” 

That could be humor, anger, annoyance, sarcasm or maybe tease. Normally in a story, there would be leading up to a statement like that. But I’ll pretend there isn’t and Scott’s statement is the start of the conversation or scenario. While tilting the head can convey emotion it is often a quirk or habit that without context could mean anything.

Scott crossed his arms, tilted his head to the side with his brow furrowed. “Really?”

Sure it get’s wordy, however, if I really want to show the reader how Scott feels then I will make it work. I might even take the head tilting out unless I have that as Scott’s quirk. I wouldn’t want everyone going around gesturing the same way.

Scott tilted his head to the side as a sly grin spread across his face. “Really?”

Scott’s head tilted to the side as he stifled a snicker. “Really?”

Scott’s fist slammed on the table then he tilted his head. “Really?”

If the tone isn’t foreshadowed by action before the statement, the reader will likely project their own emotion into it. That may or may not work out and may or may not put them off the story which in turn will mean devastation for the review and reader’s opinion of the story and author.  I can write words and have my own idea how they are supposed to sound, but if I don’t let the reader in on it, then I’ve let them down.

My advice about acting out emotion.
I do this to keep the reader engaged, I highly recommend it. Don’t let the reader decide what ‘vocal’ tone the characters are using, show them so the meaning behind the word isn’t lost. After all, you don’t want a character to move when you mean swoon. 

-Sheryl

A post or two from a while back.

Squirrelly concentration at best

Time to take out the trash

My Posts From The Start

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Mope
Devastation

Advertisements

Turmoil of the innermost kind

Emotions are the essence of who we are. They are easy to write internalized and hard to show. I’ve been showing one at a time and probably will with more. But what happens when someone is in turmoil? When their emotions fly but they can’t express them verbally or externally? I don’t write in first person so this can be tricky to express. For this show and not tell excercise it’s all about what a character does do when they can’t necessarily express their true emotions or thoughts.

Sometimes a person has too much going on and those around them add to the chaos generally unaware. While Sasha is dealing with her own abundance of problems, Amber, her tormentor has to deal with her own.

Amber’s hands shook as she rinsed them in the warm water. She looked at her tired reflection, frowning at the worry around her eyes.  “What are you going to do now?” Blinking back tears, she took several deep breaths before returning to her desk.

“Hey Ambs, feeling better today?” Dale chewed on the end of his pen.
She sat slowly. “Sure.”
“I’m back to myself too, wanna do lunch? Scott has a lunch meeting thing.”
She rubbed her sweaty palms on her skirt. “Yeah sure.” Biting her lip, she turned to her computer. The unfocused screen too bright. There wasn’t anyone to talk to, nobody to confide in. With a sideways glance at Dale chatting away on the phone, she drummed her fingers on the desktop.
A slight smile etched the corner of her mouth. “Maybe it could be a good thing.” She mumbled and closed her eyes. “Yeah right and hell is a tropical vacation.”

Amber opened her eyes to see Rachael approaching with a stern posture. She had made her point and everyone stopped picking on her.

“Hey Amber, you okay?”
Amber opened her mouth to snip and smiled instead. “Sure Rachael. What can I do for you?”
With a raised eyebrow, Rachael held out a glittery pink card. “You’re the only one who hasn’t signed Alice’s congratulations card. If you want to chip in on the gift that would be nice.”

“Gift?” The word echoed in her head as Amber took the adorable card with a cartoon baby on the front.
“I’m picking something up at lunch, we’ll give it to her before she leaves today. What a wonderful thing. Isn’t it exciting?”

“Exciting?” Amber read over a few comments, all well wishes, happy comments and words of joy. It sounded like a good thing and not the end of the world. Smiling she wrote a small meaningful congratulations and swallowed hard as she handed it back. “How much?”

“Um, whatever you can spare is fine.” Rachael tucked the card in the envelope skepticism easy to see.

Amber dug out her wallet. Dale was openly listening now with rapt interest. What if this was her? Would anyone bother with card for her? Amber held her breath and handed her a fifty.

“I’ll get you change.”
“No.” Amber waved her hand. “It’s fine. I could do with some good karma.”
“Thanks.” Rachael turned and left quickly.
“You know that’s not how it works right?” Dale smirked. “You can’t ask for good karma, you earn it.”
“Whatever.” Amber clenched her fists staring at her screen.
“Besides if you want to make up for the crap you pull you’d need to give at least fifty thousand more.”
“Shut up Dale, or you fly solo for lunch.”
“Russo’s?”
She avoided looking at him as her eyes misted and she nodded. Russo’s was fine, the food was good and the atmosphere quiet enough.

Poor mean Amber right? Even the bad guy’s are human. I think it’s important to make even the most disliked people somewhat likable. Even if during her only moment of kindness she was being selfish. An interesting side story is always welcome IMO so I generally include them in my writing.

My advice about inner turmoil.
Be careful with the POV, stick with one and try not to jump in and out of character’s heads. It can get disorienting.

-Sheryl

Other posts

It’s funny you said that…

The FAB pencil

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Echo

One hundred

Statistics are fun. This is my one hundredth post written. It may have gotten out of order a wee bit by a couple days. Oops.  Oh well. My point is I made it 100 days posting blogs that have for the most part been received with complements and favorable comments.

I don’t get the little notifications from WordPress, the congratulations on 1000 likes or whatnot, but that’s not important, I get them and I’m thankful.

To everyone that takes the time to read, comment, like and re-blog I want to say thank you. You all make this part of my journey that much more exciting, fun, interesting and educational.

Here are some fun facts;

People liking my blog posts have represented 74 Countries

I have received 2443 Likes thus far

My posts have 822 Comments (I think this includes my responses)
The first five people to ever comment: (Those in pink are still actively posting since August and are awesome by the way)
Michael 
Kristina
Yvonne
Fernanda
April
TouchUpdate

2025 Visitors have dropped buy for a visit.

My blog has had 5620 views since it started.

Finally yet importantly, I have 278 Glorious and fantastic followers so far.
My first six followers ever are:(again in pink are still actively blogging as of August)
DirtySciFiBudda
Yvonne
Mimi
Fernanda
Leslie
quintessentialeditor

I don’t mention this to brag, but in appreciation. I had no idea where this would go when I started and I still don’t. (Check them out and see if you don’t know them.)

I try to keep my posts informative, fun and at least interesting. They are based on my journey since I sat down and wrote a book with no idea how to do so. I have learned so much and I love that I find out new things nearly daily to better my skills. I am not an expert, but I do like to give my opinion and share what I’ve learned. I am open to suggestions (within reason) and love to hear from my readers and followers.

My book BiaAtlas is still in the process of being published. It is still a journey and I will continue to share the process as things arise.

Occasionally I fall short on time and will post a chapter of a book I’ve started. It is based off the characters I created solely for the purpose of blog post examples. Sasha, Cal and the people that antagonize them. I have a lot of fun with them and they are bludgeoned with situation after situation and often… well that’s because they are example fodder. 

I hope everyone has enjoyed and will continue to enjoy my two cents spelling, grammar, technical errors and all. 😉

So thank you again bloggers and readers, liker’s and commenters, I honestly appreciate all your support.

My advice today.
Don’t give up on your dreams, if it gets murky and you need a break, keep your dreams nearby you never know when inspiration will strike up your desire to start chasing them again.

-Sheryl

My first, second and third post ever.

One letter, one word, and one sentence.
The “word count” down.
Read, revise and repeat. The shampoo process of editing.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

 

Bludgeon