Find a tone and stick with it

Something in this seems a little out of place
Something in this seems a little out of place

I used to dread getting feedback. It always meant having to go back and rewrite something.

Fortunately, I’m well past that and now appreciate how necessary both feedback and rewriting are.

Feedback makes you learn to value the necessity of hearing how somebody else interprets your work, and more importantly, how to be objective when it comes to really understanding what they have to say.

While working on the outline of my mystery rewrite, I looked for opportunities to put in an occasional joke (read: cheap laugh).

The problem, according to my top feedback-provider, was that the jokes, while understandable for their intent, were totally wrong for this kind of story. They make my protagonist come across as an idiot and the action comes to a screeching halt each time. And since this is more mystery than comedy, they shouldn’t be drawing attention to themselves like that.

There were other notes besides this one, but this one really struck a nerve – in a good way. I’ve been working on rewriting the jokes to make them a better fit within the context of the story, rather than have them be glaringly obvious and out of place.

As you create the world of your story, you have to make sure all the elements combine to make a believable scenario. This goes way beyond the story and the characters – take everything into account.  If something seems out of place, fix it or get rid of it.

And if you’re not sure, that’s what feedback is for.