Why do a small majority of Indie authors' early works seem so sleep-inducing? Why is there a monotonous tone of voice in scenes where drama should rule?
A possible answer came with a re-run of an episode from 'Cheers'.
The episode itself was below par but it contained a perfect example of the importance of FOCUS or STRESS.
Details are irrelevant here.
A very lame joke written by Cliff Clavin, features on the Johnny Carson Show run-through. It falls flat until Cliff's mother points out that Carson should hit the word 'have' in the punch line.
Read Cliff's lousy joke in a monotone and then again stressing the word 'have'. If you don't recognise the difference this tiny change makes, then chances are you shouldn't give up your day job for a writing career just yet.
'Doc was so old, when he was a kid, he didn't blow out candles on a birthday cake. They didn't have fire yet.'
See how much stronger this becomes and properly centres the feeble joke. This is where some tyro or part-time writers fall down. They have good vocabularies, solid grammar, a decent story to tell etc. but they haven't focussed in on the important words. We plough through a fuzz of minor sartorial detail, weather forecasts, menu items, what their coffee tastes like, pet's quaint activities and so forth, all mixed in with what should be the telling prose.
The POINT of the scene/event/action has to be stressed. It must stand out against the background burble - it should be the reason you've written the scene. Some setting and ambience is necessary but cut out the non-essentials and hit the 'have' words. Make the essence stand out. Relieve the monotony and give us a vibrant chord or two.