Monday, January 28, 2013

A Young Voice Tip

Last week I talked about making passes through your manuscript.  At that time I intended to work on my manuscript Ungifted, but I have shifted back to my middle-grade dystopian story, currently titled The Adult Plague. I’m not really sure why I’ve made the transition.  I think because I haven’t worked on it for a long time, and I feel like it’d be a fresher experience to go back to it, considering I’ve spent a fair amount of time on Ungifted lately.  Anyway, I plan on making a couple passes through The Adult Plague before I send it out to critique partners, but I wanted to talk about one of the passes I plan on making.

I’m going through the whole manuscript and making sure the story feels like it’s being told through the eyes of a twelve-year-old boy, since that’s the protagonist.  A part of this is simply making sure his emotions in any given scene are not only coming across, but are logical (for any person, not just a twelve-year-old boy).  Another part of that is making sure that the way he conveys those emotions or simply narrates the story sound like they’re coming from a kid (in terms of word choices and turns of phrases).  I’ve already started making this pass, and I’ve realized just how important a “young voice tip” I learned recently is (I learned it at my last residency at Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction MFA program in January): Kids exaggerate everything.  My protagonist’s mom didn’t tell him something a “thousand” times, she told him a “trillion.”  Something isn’t “big” or even “enormous,” it’s “ginormous” (sounds more extreme to me, anyway, since it’s a combination of the words “enormous” and “gigantic”).  Simply having my protagonist exaggerate things more makes him seem/feel like the twelve-year-old kid he is, and so far I think it’s working “extremely” well.  In fact, I think I’m going to get back to the manuscript and do even more of a “mind-blowingly incredible” job of that.

1 comment:

Anita said...

I like the way you look for specific things in your passes....I have to write a lot of notes to myself when going through, to make sure I'm being consistent with certain things (the way the main character phrases things especially...but she's weird that way, so...). Anyway, good luck!