Friday, April 22, 2011

Voice in the crowd

When I was a kid, my parents would serve chicken livers for dinner now and then. Pan-fried chicken livers, with lots of sauteed onions and peppers (thank God) and served on white rice. I learned how to eat them -- cut the liver into small bits and fork up one at a time with as much rice, onion and pepper as would stick to it.

Never liked liver. Still don't. I came to the conclusion that my parents served it because it's good for you. And because you shouldn't be above eating something you don't like if it's all that's offered. 

I went away to college eventually, and one weekend when I came home it was chicken liver for dinner. I jokingly said that they didn't have to serve liver any more, I'm a grown up now. That got me a puzzled look.

"But we like chicken liver."

There's an excellent post about POV and voice over at Murder She Writes that spurred this post. She presents some great examples of how to use POV to communicate character and setting simultaneously, but what jumped out at me was the voice in both snippets. It's that thick, lush voice you see a lot out there. Lots of information jammed in on flurries of clauses. Blizzard of backstory packaged up as a description of a dingy bistro.

People love this stuff, it seems. Always gets gushy responses. I can see them sitting at the dinner table, napkin tucked into their collar, spoon and fork in hand, eyes bright. It's chicken liver tonight, right?

And I look down at my pan and push dinner around with the wooden spoon a bit. I don't like chicken liver, so I don't cook it.

Cloys to your mouth. Touch of grit, hint of bile, needs another forkful of onions to wash it down. It's good for you, come on. We love it.

Intellectually, I know the answer is to find my own way of doing it. But emotionally? I want to throw the pan back on the stove and close my eyes until the agony fades.


Heh, Course Corrections has gone out to my beta readers and I'm working on a wrenching bit of back-story. Feeling the teeth of the darkness a bit today, I suppose...

1 comment:

Loralie Hall said...

Hehe, love your analogy. #applause ^_^

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...