At this point you should have your story's mold and sand to fill it. Now you are ready to create your narrative lens, and the way you shape it provides more than just a point of view. You can use voice to convey many things in a story. For example, it's an especially good way to impart vital information, helping you avoid the dreaded infodump.
This is the second part of our discussion on narrative vocabulary and tone. To get the full context, start here: Narrative Voice: Vocabulary Choice and Tone (Part One) Part One focuses on vocabulary choice and ways to shed light on your characters' inner thoughts and world view through the language they use.
If your characters are the lens through which the reader experiences your story, and you the writer are the glassmaker, then vocabulary makes up the grains of sand which create the glass. Likewise, tone is the mold into which you pour your hot glass to set the lens.
Now that you’ve decided who is going to be telling your reader your story, let’s take a closer look at the technical aspects of how that story is going to be conveyed, and what the impacts of these technical choices may be on a reader’s experience.
Stories are organized around a sequence of events that contain plot drivers that influence what happens in that section. Throughout time, storytellers have drawn upon common story structures that have evolved within their culture.
Once all the hard work of completing the very first draft of your novel is complete (yay!), and you’ve had the time to give it a look-over and fix all the spelling errors, typos, and other general first-draft inconsistencies and issues, the next thing you’ll likely want to do before you send the book off to editors/agents/publishers is to have a fresh pair of eyes look over the book and give you feedback.
One of the marvelous things about being a writer is the ability to tell any story, set anywhere. However, when your create characters and writing settings that don’t approximate your lived experience, there is potential danger that you may appropriate or misrepresent someone else’s culture and life.
Whether maliciously or accidentally, we can sometimes perpetuate harmful biases in our writing, and the best way to remedy that is by working with a Sensitivity Reader.
My last post on this topic covered worldbuilding with a purpose, so now I'd like to explore the opposite approach. The truth is that not all stories need extensive worldbuilding, especially when they take place in familiar settings and not on imaginary worlds or some high-flying epic environment. But sometimes you want to do it anyway.
Genre is a literary term used to describe categories of fiction. You'll recognize the popular ones, which turn up as special sections at your favorite bookstore: science fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery, and horror. It's is a handy way to group similar types of stories, but genre is often misunderstood.