I am thrilled to host indie author John Howell on his current blog tour! I invite you to meet this talented writer in his own words. Take it away, John!
This is the Seventh stop on what has been a fantastic tour as a Rave Reviews Spotlight Author. If you would like to be chosen for this honor you need to be a member. To find out how go to the website http://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/ and read all about it. You can also see all my tour stops listed under Spotlight Authors.
We authors make some conscious choices regarding how we want our stories to be constructed. We may not plan every feature, but we certainly have a rough idea of where we want the story to go. We also make conscious decisions on how the conventions of storytelling are to be handled. We choose the voice and the tense. We decide the use and role of dialog and prose. In short all the decisions that go into the story are usually made prior to the first opening line. From there, the entire story will take on the attributes given by the author.
As I indicated my POV of choice is the first person. I couple this with the present tense. As you can imagine I spend many hours of editing making sure all the tenses match up. Any time there is a flashback I have to make sure the tense reflects the past. Sometimes is would be fun to do a prolonged flashback in the present tense but, unfortunately, such an experiment would confuse the reader to the point of distraction. The net result would be a frustrated reader which we all want to avoid. So I have not done that kind of experiment but sometimes the past tense creeps into the present unconsciously. It takes a sharp eye to find those little whoopsies and so editing becomes critical.
The other choice I make is how to handle dialog tags. I prefer to use the word “say or says” almost exclusively on those occasions where I feel I need to clarify who is talking. I avoid the long drawn out tags that tend to become examples of overwriting. Let me give you an example. “Say Donnie I think you ought to give that toy back to Marie,” I indicate while holding the ironing board against the wall. As you can see the discussion now has some stage work connected to it? I would do this example this way. “Say Donnie you ought to give that toy back to Marie,” I say. Leaning against the ironing board, I’m hoping my words have some effect of the little tyke. Although not perfect the dialog is a separate entity from the action.
In addition I don’t try to place modifiers on dialog tags to express anger or other emotions. I prefer to write the scene in such a way so the reader can sense how the characters are interacting.
So here is another excerpt which will give you a better idea. This is another part of Chapter one of My GRL
After about five minutes discussion with the doctor, I now understand I had been hit on the head by a soft object specifically designed to knock someone out, but not cause serious contusions or brain damage. The term “blackjack” was mentioned. Even though the doctor is still talking, I am hardly listening since I have a big question brewing. I want to ask why the hell someone would want to knock me out when my mind is flooded by a flash of memory. Shit, my inner self is talking. I was walking with Gerry when a couple of guys came up to us. I don’t really know what happened next. I’m sure we were approached by the two guys, but that’s all I remember. I need to ask the doctor a bigger question than whom or why would someone want to knock me out.
Dr. Samuels stops talking and looks at me as if I had just fallen through a hole in the roof on the end of a repelling line, dressed in a Ninja outfit.
I ignore his petrified look and continue, “I was with Gerry . . . Gerry Starnes last night, and I just remembered she was there when the two guys came up to us.” I know I am beginning to ramble. I need to know where she is. “She will be able to tell me what happened.”
Dr. Samuels looks down at the chart on his lap and I immediately know something is wrong.
“What’s the problem?” I ask softly.
Dr. Samuels looks up with a crinkled brow. His mouth opens a couple of times before he says anything. He finally allows the words to escape, “I am very sorry to tell you that Gerry was shot and did not make it. She was shot outside the Sandbar.”
I cannot process what the doctor just said and ask him to please repeat what he told me. He is very embarrassed and again tells me Gerry has been killed. I cannot believe my ears. I am trying to understand, but can’t put together why anyone would want to kill Gerry. She is . . . was a really sweet person, and we met a month ago while I was looking to buy a boat when I first arrived on the Island.
My GRL can be found:
Martin Sisters Publishing http://www.martinsisterspublishing.com
I can be reached: