Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Authorial Tone

So during my musings today, I made a discovery that there is an important aspect of writing that I can recognize, but I have no idea how to produce: tone.

I will be taking a utopian/dystopian literature class in a couple of weeks and I'm reading some of the novels in preparation for it. I didn't realize how much dystopian literature I had read until addressed so directly by this class. I was reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Fascinating work.

In describing the novel to my husband, I realized that (unlike a lot of dystopian literature), Huxley was not specifically creating a dystopian society; instead he was satirizing/warning about where he thought his society was heading. The tone of the novel is somehow different.

But I can't figure out how. I can tell there is a difference, and intellectually I know that it has to do a lot with word choice, but I can't tell you what words are creating the tone. To me, it all just seems to be written matter-of-factly, a technique used often in multicultural literature to get the reader to empathize with the different culture. But there is a decidedly disapproving tone overall to the work itself.

Which thought also lead me to characterization. How does a great author make a bad (or even good) character sympathetic, or conversely, a good (or bad) character despicable?

This is something I need to study in depth to improve my own writing. But frankly I'm not even sure where to start my analysis. Not even to mention the amount of time...But I guess that's how truly great writers become great.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Shout-Out to Graduates

Congratulations to all of you who have either graduated from college/university, or are about to graduate from high school. It's a big accomplishment.

I just graduated myself with my MA in English, and it has been a blast. I am sad that I'm already done because there are so many other classes I want to take. It has been a thrilling and exciting ride. I've honed my craft, had the opportunity to explore genres other than the typical academic ones, and been exposed to a variety of works of literature. I've begun to understand the reason why certain literature lives forever, and I can start to apply those principles into my own writing. I've learned from professors, books, and colleagues. I wouldn't change my experience one bit.

So not only is this a shout-out to the graduates, but it's also a shout-out for higher education. If you are debating on attending college, do it. If you are debating on earning your Master's degree, do it. You can learn things from higher education classes that are impossible, or at least extremely difficult, to learn without.