Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tonal Vision

My WIP started off bright and cheery with a nice comedic touch. I loved it and pounded away at my keyboard, churning out page after happy page.

But now, a third of the way into the manuscript, things have taken a dramatic turn. My frothy little tale has become deadly serious. The laughs my hero and heroine shared were last seen about twenty pages ago. I can’t figure out what happened. I took a look at my working synopsis and notes (which is about as close as I come to an outline). I can see where my plot changed, but not where the tone changed.

Now, the question is: How far down this highway of heaviness do I go before I turn around? And what if this grave stretch of the journey is just temporary? What if my cheery little tone is waiting just around the bend?

I know a lot of writers are firm believers in writing by the seat of their pants, and they let their books take them wherever the characters want to go. But what do you do when your characters suddenly get all dark and brooding when what you really want is lightness and sunshine? Or, for that matter, when you start out with angst and your characters just can’t stop being silly?

Is it considered acceptable for a manuscript to change tones once or twice during the course of the book?

1 comment:

Carla Swafford said...

My goodness, JoAnn, that's a hard one. But I know what you mean. I have a book that starts off sassy and sarcastic (which I love). Then it changed. That's when I purposely went into the hero's POV.

Plus I was watching a TV program about how to make scary moments more scary. They say to have a light moment or loving one seconds before you have something bad happen. Then the bad thing become terrible in comparison. I thought that was cool when I heard it.

I know...not much help. Sorry.