An avid reader calls it as she sees it on books, publishing and the written word in general.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Light and shade

Inspired by a post over at Query Shark, I've been thinking recently about light and shade in novels. It seems to me that light novels need serious moments, and heavy novels need light ones. Otherwise, you get a piece of fairy-floss that you've forgotten five minutes after reading, or something that makes you want to go out and slash your wrists.

On the other hand, it's sometimes jarring to have a change of tone. Today's analogy (and I have no idea where this one came from as I'm not in the least musical): it's a bit like musical octaves. You have an octave, maybe two, maybe three if you're lucky, and within those you can move about, go higher or lower. However, if you suddenly try to reach for that High C that's way out of your range - well, the audience is likely to cringe. I was trying to think of how "strained vocal cords" translates to novel writing, but I think my analogy might break down at that point.

So here's to novels that make you laugh and cry...without straining in the least.


  1. Ms. Brouhaha,

    Interesting post about light and dark in writing. I just want to thank you for taking the time to read and comment about my query on Query Shark. I'll take use your advice along with many others to hopefully improve my query and my writing.


  2. Thanks Ocean for posting your query and braving the shark - I really did find it particularly interesting. Sometimes it's easy to see where the queries go wrong but yours really made me stop and think. I think I've learnt something :)

    Also, you are the first person to comment on my new blog so I am very very happy :) Hope you find it interesting. I'm thinking of doing a series on Copyright Basics for Writers, if people would find it useful (that's my day job, intellectual property).