Friday, January 8, 2010

Snarky and Serious

Okay, I have this idea I've been mulling over for a potential new project to begin working on sometime this year. Can you believe it's 2010 already? Geesh!!! I have some, not all, of the basics noted down, figured out the potential names for the characters (though I'm not sure whether the names will stick at this point), and have an idea of the magical object that is at the core of the story. I still also have a ton of things to work out in the story.

But, my main questions are: Can a novel be both snarky and serious? Does the snarkiness diminish the serious tone of the novel?

You see, I want one of the main characters to have an A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E! A serious, serious, very snarky attitude! In many ways, this story will be a mockery of . . . well, can't tell you that, state secret, you'd have to give up first born child for me to tell you the secret, and all that jazz. Even though some serious mocking will occur, there is also a seriousness to the story, emotional depth, a coming of ageness to this story as well.

Can the mockery and seriousness, the snark and the emotional depth, walk hand and hand down the yellow brick road?

No, I'm not doing a retelling of The Wizard of Oz, I just liked the image of the yellow brick road.

Is such a balance between snark and seriousness doable? Am I biting off more than I can chew? Should I just focus on one aspect - snark or seriousness - and not attempt both?

Thoughts?

S

15 comments:

Marybeth Poppins said...

Absolutely! I love a book that has both humor and suspense.

I say go for it!

And really...your book can be ANYTHING you want it to be!

Robyn Campbell said...

Do it!! It's your book and I say, "if you write it they will come." Fancy quote I thought up there isn't it? My brain is always clickin'. :-)

Seriously, write it. I know it will be a great read.

People! Putting Pen To Paper is all about the contests today. WOOT!

Jody Hedlund said...

I think you could pull it off. From what I've read of your voice in your posts, you seem to tackle serious subjects with some snark!

And as far as that good, ol' query letter. . . :-) I really do think all of the hype in the blogosphere about it (and on twitter), tends to give it an elevated place. BUT, I have to agree with what you said Wed. in my comments too--if we turn off an agent with our query, then even if our story has potential, they won't get to see it. So, the bottom line in my opinion, is write the best darn query you can, but make sure the book is just as good or better!

And, Scott, I'm sure you'll do just fine on both ends!

Scott said...

Marybeth - thanks. I know it's my book and I can do with it what I want, I just wasn't sure if it would be somewhat off-putting with both snarky and serious tone.

Robyn - thanks. Hey, I've written it, so where are they?? Huh? Huh?

Jody - thanks so much. Yeah, I think there's a bit of snark in everything I do, much to my sisters' dismay! Ha! As for the query, one of these days the right words will just flow. I always seem to tense up when I'm writing the letter. Perhaps I should write the letter after I've gone out for margaritas on Friday. Hmmmm . . .

S

Michelle said...

It is absolutely possible. I'm having trouble thinking of a book as an example right now, but what about M*A*S*H? Sometimes it was both. Often, you need one to offset the other.

Lady Glamis said...

It's definitely possible. I think many chick flicks pull this off if you pay attention. There's usually always a snarky character but serious situations. Good luck!

Scott said...

Michelle - you're definitely right about M*A*S*H! I loved that show. It was great. I think it's the balance - not too much snark or seriousness - that is the key.

Lady Glamis - glad you're back, not that you were totally gone! There's always a little bit, okay, a lot of snark in whatever I write, but I want something more for this project that's simmering on the backburner of my mind right now. As I mentioned above, I think it's all going to be about balance.

Tess said...

first off - cute new doggie picture on your side bar. is that a new member of the family?

and - I say what others say here : sure, why not?

Scott said...

Tess - not a new member, just Jesse. He's so demanding. He was on Blogger a few weeks ago and insisted that I replace my normal picture with his. Since he is so cute . . . I gave in to his demands. I'll put James' picture up at some point, and then Squeaky. I can't be playing favorites! : )

ElanaJ said...

I think you can do both. You do it brilliantly on your blog.

My book is done with a lot of snark and sarcasm, but at the same time is very emotional and serious. (At least I think it is.)

So yes! Do it!

scott g.f.bailey said...

Shakespeare did it all the time. So did Dickens. There's a long tradition of it, so just write it the way it feels and see what happens.

ali said...

In fact, I think it's necessary! I think the snark or attitude will give the levity that's needed to truly tell a serious story. Make it too serious and you might actually not get your message across at all.

Good luck! I like snark! :D

Cammie said...

Completely! Who says "serious" writing has to be dry? Well-played snarkiness will just add another dimension to the serious undertones of your book, ie, making it more reader-accessible and less heavy-handed (man, I sound like a Comp Lit prof or something!)

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Interesting post, Scott. I am visiting from Nicola's blog and enjoy seeing all these great writing blogs! I'm adding myself as a follower and look forward to reading more of your posts!

Jemi Fraser said...

I think it's absolutely doable. In fact, keeping the tone less serious than the topic is a good way to get a wider audience to read about the serious topic.