I love that scene in Infamous where Truman Capote tells the same story, with slight variations, at different dinner parties, to see which version goes over best with his “audience.”
The fact is, the way that a story is told is just as important as the words used. Kind of like how the tone of voice used while talking to your significant other can either get you kissed or slapped. Are you being sincere or sarcastic? It is the tone of voice, the way you are talking that tells the listener which adjective is correct.
But you can’t rely on tone to help you in your writing. Unless you are composing something you plan to read to others, you have to utilize your language skills more carefully.
I have been thinking about writing vs. story a lot recently, because I just recently re-read Christopher Moore’s The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove. It is a book I definitely recommend reading. The writing is solid, and the story is fantastic. But it is definitely a case in which the story transcends the writing, which makes it a slightly disappointing read.
The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove has zany characters (but they work so much better than the Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club), as well as a smart, funny plot. The lust lizard is a dinosaur that has been sleeping in the Pacific Ocean, but wakes up, and is attracted to the depressed residents of the small town Pine Cove (because it preys on depressed animals), the majority of whom have been taken off of their antidepressants, due to a guilty-feeling psychiatrist who mistakenly thinks she caused a suicide via overmedication. Sounds pretty awesome, right?
It starts off strong, but somewhere in the middle of the book, I begin to lose some of my steam while reading this book. I continue to read, because I want to see how Moore wraps up the story, but I’m just not as interested. I can be interrupted mid-sentence, without being cross like Sarah in A Little Princess.
The reason I find this subject interesting is because it is generally mid-story that I begin to lose steam while writing. I just… care a bit less. I get a bit bored. I try to push through this, keep writing, because I can always edit it and make it better later, once I have a finished draft.
Except I’m kind of crap at editing. And finishing, actually, but that’s another story.
So, if you’re kind of bored writing the middle stuff, it will probably make it kind of boring to read, which means the readers will probably care less about how the story ends. I guess the best way around this problem is to get better at editing, and have kick ass beta readers.
Any other suggestions/thoughts? I would love to hear them!