I'm still wandering around the voice subject and have come to no definite conclusions.....no surprise there. So wandering through blogs I cam across Therese Fowler's post on voice here here. One of Therese's phrase jumped out at me:
"Voice is inextricably tied to subject/content and form."
This hit as true as I began the reread of A Cornish House. Serena's attitude gives this story it's voice. Yet how I choose to put her on the page gives me mine.
So while reading my opening chapters I realized that although the current first page is good, I might be better to start here:
Serena stared at the darkness. Why the hell was she here? It was Madde of course. Madde made a mess of everything. Serena opened the car door. The air smelt clean; strange concept. No noise either. Her music went dead hours ago and the radio didn’t work because the car didn’t. Great. Here in the middle of the end of the earth and no music to kill the silence.
The hedge beside her was taller than she was. Madde hadn’t left her much room. Serena walked to the front of the car. There wasn’t any room on that side either. No one would be able to get past them. Not a problem she supposed as there was no one here. Was Cornwall totally devoid of life? Yes, clearly it was.
A screeching noise made Serena jump. A low flying object swept past her face just clearing the hedge. This place was creepy; no one here and bats or something flying around.
Madde’s voice broke the silence. Her proper accent was unmistakable. She was never sure how her father had fallen for her. It must have been the sex. Why else would he marry a tall gangly woman with wild curly hair and a posh accent? No other possible reason.
“The car is just in that bend.”
“They won’t be able to do anything with you there.”
Serena’s head shot up. Who was that male voice? Had Madde picked up some man in the half hour she’d been gone. Typical. Men flocked to her like flies to shit. Serena just couldn’t understand it. Mind you Madde never seemed to notice the drool as they stood staring. She was oblivious to everything lost in her world of colours and shapes. Hell she didn’t even shout at the tattoo. She just closed her mouth and then commented on the lovely use of blue. She wasn’t even clued up enough to know it was a fake. So much for getting under her skin. She didn’t shout. She didn’t rage. She kept on packing for this wretched move to Cornwall and whimpering on about what a Godsend it was that she had inherited this house. Well, they thought it was a house. The papers that Serena stole a look at describe it as a dwelling.
“Serena, has anyone come?” Madde stood in front of the car with a tall man beside her. He was good-looking in a rough shaven sort of way. Nice body. Unfortunately drooling to as they all do. Another puppy to follow Madde around. Does she smell of sex or something?
“Are you joking? Someone come down this God forsaken excuse for a road? Nothing but bats down here.” She paused and waited for Madde’s normal intake of breath.
“Excellent. They’re protected. You are lucky to see them as they’ve been declining.”
Oh great thought Serena this time she has found a hunky eco geek. A new puppy to add to the list. Madde the dark damsel in distress and the great eco geek rides to rescue. Get a life Madde and fix things yourself without the drool patrol. Get a grip on pheromone production while you’re at it too.
“Thanks for the eco update but this place gives me the creeps.”
Rather than here:
The car coughed to a halt and lurched as the trailer pushed it further on the dark lane.
“Shit.” Madde thumped the steering wheel.
“What?” Madde turned to see Serena rubbing her eyes; her blond hair in spiky disarray and the new tattoo on her arm peeking out from her tee-shirt. Double shit thought Madde. They couldn’t be far from where ever the hell Carnew was but now that Serena was awake she could hear her complaints already. She turned the key but no sound emerged from the engine.
“Are we at this God-forsaken place?” Serena stretched.
“Errr, no. The car died.”
“The car died.”
“I heard that but where are we?” Serena was now sitting straight.
“Mind your language.” Madde ran her fingers over the wheel.
“Hah, fine thing to say. I just heard you swearing. What’s wrong with Christ anyway?”
“We’ve been down this road before.”
“No we haven’t.”
“Don’t be pedantic.” Madde rubbed her hands over the back of her neck. She could feel the rigid tendons. “Serena, I’m tired I’ve been driving for hours and arguing isn’t going to help.”
Madde pulled the release for the bonnet and open the door. She had no idea what she was looking for. The cool breeze caught her hair as she stood in the darkness releasing the bonnet. It sprang open.
“What are you doing?” asked Serena.
“Looking at the engine.”
“Since when do you know anything about engines?”
Madde sighed. Serena was right. She hadn’t a clue. Her hand sought her phone in her jean pocket. The screen lit up. The wall paper was still a picture of John. He’d been gone a year.
“Are you just going to look at it?” Serena’s voice cut the cool night air.
Madde pressed the number for roadside assistance. No signal. Great.
“Well, what’s happening?” Serena leaned out the window.
“Nothing. That’s great. So we’re in the middle of no where with no signal and a dead car.”
“That sums it up it quite well.” Madde looked to the black sky and said a silent prayer. She needed help now. The Milky Way splashed across the darkness filled her with peace. She could manage this.
“Yes.” Madde placed her hands on her hips.
Does either one give you a sense of my voice? Not sure but in both Serena comes across loud and clear.