The Voice

May 3, 2012 § 11 Comments

Considering how much I despised the first five chapters of 50 Shades of Grey, it’s surprising (especially to me) how enraptured I became with the story.

It would be easy to assume that the highly sexual story line is what reeled me in and in all honesty it did add an element that kept me interested, noticeable by my sizeable smile and simultaneous open jaw sitting on the floor.

I knew my view had turned when I went from solely listening in my Yurbuds while heading out to run, to carrying my phone in my bra so that I could push play every time the kids left the room. I became hooked. Desperate to know what was next. Eager for the ride and excited for the journey.

In any language and on any continent this kind of reaction is motivation for a writer. Being so beguiling that the reader can’t put you down is the essence of the job; the goal. No one wants to write a snore.

When I was teaching fourth grade writing, we often spoke about the difference between telling the story and showing the story; the goal was always the showing.

In 50 Shades, so much was told using the same words et nausea that the writing appear labored and simple, even when the words themselves were sophisticated (thesaurus usage can be deadly).

How many times was she going to say his mouth fell in a hard line? How often did we need to be told that she had an inner goddess who hid behind chairs and sofas and under blankets? Yes, I understand he looked at her speculatively and with grey eyes. Biting her bottom lip? Got it. The symbol for the power struggle

But it may have been E.L. James’ master plan. Her brilliance as a writer being kept secret  until she was ready to share.

The choice to make Anastasia’s voice so repetitive was in direct opposition to the voice that was exposed when her innocence was being challenged.

This was where the real beauty of the writing came alive and convinced me of Ms. James’ true talent in the authoring department.

Granted, the scenes in the red room of pain, the bondage, the frightened girl who became totally immersed and connected in the moments of her fear revealed deep emotion mixed with gut wrenching descriptiveness highlighting some really glorious writing.

It was enough to make me forgive those wasted first chapters. Maybe they weren’t wasted after all.

Last night I started to read The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.

Four pages in, I have a picture of Aibileen. Through the story showing and Aibileen’s dialogue (shortened sentence structure, double negatives and misplaced use of words) I have an idea of who she is. I like her immediately. Read the first four pages and you’ll like her, too. Kathryn Stockett created a new and interesting character with a voice I want to hear.

I should probably apologize to Ms. James for my initial incertitude toward to her book. I still wish she hadn’t used the C word so much and feel like s.h.i.t would have been just as appropriate. It would have saved me from my personal challenge to count the word in question, pulling me out of the story thirty two times, give or take a few.

I went to be last night working out the first lines (of one of my books) that will be written  in it’s own time.

It will go something like this…

I was handed to my mother three days after I was born. Wrapped in a pink blanket she carefully pulled me from the hands of the lawyer, anxious to leave before Loretta had a chance to change her mind. I was bald and pretty, despite the ears that were far too big for my head. My brown eyes looked up at my new mother, whose own brown eyes matched mine exactly.

I couldn’t have known then what I learned all those years later. That my beginning was a gift and that I was saved.

I couldn’t have known the truth. I wouldn’t have believed it had come written in ink and pinned to my clothes.

I was the lucky one.

My older sisters, just two and three, waited in a run down house halfway across town as I was being given away. They knew nothing of me. They knew not of their mothers’ illness. They didn’t have a chance. Weren’t granted even a molecule of a future.


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§ 11 Responses to The Voice

  • annewoodman says:

    Can’t wait to read it! It’s funny how so many writers can be swayed in their own writing as they read someone else’s words. We’re drawn in to other peoples’ voices… we need to remember our own. And the gift the 50 Shades author gave you was how not to start a book! One more lesson learned. Good luck as you start the writing process.

  • kaitwatts says:

    You are such a gifted writer. One of the reasons why all of those series attracts such a huge audience-“Hunger Games”, “Harry Potter,” ect. do so well is because they are written for the average person who doesn’t read often.And of course they attract such a wide audience. It’s a gift to write a book that attracts young adults to elderly. I have such a hard time getting through them because the level of writing is so juvenile and everything that you described above.

    • Running in Mommyland says:

      Interesting, huh! I really liked Hunger Games, but I had such a hard time getting into Potter. Some of the books that linger with me longest are the ones that don’t get as much hoopla and press. Thanks for the sweet comment about my writing, too. I feel like I’m finally doing what I love. I don’t know what I was so scared of for so long!

  • Can’t wait to read your book! Great start… is your title “The Lucky One”?

    • Running in Mommyland says:

      I haven’t even thought of a title, but that could work! I think the story will be more about the sisters and redemption and forgiveness. I’m just going to let it flow. God willing it’ll turn out alright!

  • Melissa says:

    I think you’re off to a great start! More, more, more! What? It always works for my 5 year old, haha. I immediately want to know about the sisters who weren’t as lucky. Keep writing 🙂
    xM

  • I was curious to hear how you would end up feeling about 50 Shades of Grey. I’m still intrigued by it and think that I will end up picking it up. I love the start of your novel. You create intrigue right from the start and I too want to know more. I love that you’re writing and going after it. So inspired by you!!

    • Running in Mommyland says:

      See, now I want to know what YOU think of it. This must be why book clubs are so popular. I’ve never joined one, though.

      Thanks for the motivating words of encouragement about the writing. I feel like I have so many plates in the air. I’m having trouble getting to sleep at night because stories and blogs and articles keep popping into my head.

      Be careful what you wish for right?

      p.s. You seem to have a lot of plates going too, which is inspiring for me!!!!

      • haha! Yes. Lots of plates spinning around. I’m kind of scared that one or more will come crashing down soon 🙂

        I never joined a book club either. My brain needs a mental break soon so maybe I will download the book to read. I’ll let you know!

  • […] is gone and the kids are hungry and the articles sit quiet and the book remains a paragraph waiting here in Mommyland’s archives? I’ve got to step back and think for a while without using […]

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