Tuesday, May 31, 2016

GUEST POST: "Finding My Story's Voice(s)" by Tracey Hecht

When I was a child I loved the Roald Dahl books. They made me laugh, used interesting language, and though they possessed characters unlike the people I knew in 'real' life, felt very believable to me.  I can almost remember which Dahl books I read where in my house and at what stages during my youth.  

When I thought to write a middle grade series, I had two things in mind:  

The first was my desire to create a voice that was unique to the series and distinguishable in the way that Dahl's books were distinguishable to me as a kid. 

The second was my hope to create a world of stories that could be enjoyed by kids as a group in the way that television and movies are shared and watched among friends. 

The two of these things together, the appeal to readers as group entertainment and in a distinct voice, were the goals that guided me in developing what we call a literary cinematic vernacular.

I have been told, though I didn't know it when I conceived it, that a three person protagonist voice is unusual for middle grade fiction.  The Nocturnals does not have a classic narrator voice, or single protagonist point-of-view.  

The Nocturnals has three characters:  a sugar glider named Bismark, a pangolin named Tobin, and fox named Dawn.  These three characters speak in a 'singular' voice that work in a loose 3-2-1 iambic pentameter:  for every three words from Bismark, there are two words from Tobin and one word from Dawn. 

 The ration is not literally 3 words, to 2 words, to 1 word, but it is the guiding rhythm and helps distinguish the voice of the series.

Bismark is a tiny marsupial who yammers on and on (and on!), Tobin chimes in to frame the things in which Bismark is ranting, and then Dawn speaks a word or two to punctuate the conversation.  It's snappy, cheeky, and from what we have seen, compels a kid to read (and share it) out loud. It's also great fun to write.

Tracey Hecht, founder of Fabled Films, is a writer and entrepreneur who has written, directed and produced for film. Tracey has launched several start-ups including DoughNet, an online company promoting savings and social responsibility for kids. Fabled Films brings together her passions and interests: writing, creativity, teamwork, and entrepreneurship. When she isn’t writing and managing a business, she can be found hiking, reading or spending time with her family. Tracey currently splits her time between New York City and Oquossoc, Maine with her husband, four children and three pets—none of which are a sugar glider.

The Nocturnals features three unlikely friends: Dawn, a serious fox, Tobin, a sweet pangolin and Bismark, the loud mouthed, pint sized sugar glider.  The stories all play out in their nighttime world with teamwork, friendship and humor in every adventure. 

In The Mysterious Abductions, the animals form a brigade of the night after a random encounter with a blood-thirsty snake, and just in time because something is threatening their night realm. Animals are disappearing without a trace. Together with the help of a wombat, a band of coyotes and many others, Dawn, Tobin and Bismark journey to the depths of the earth in a wacky, high stakes game that will determine all of their survival.


  1. Sounds like an interesting and very creative way of writing the characters. Congratulations on the release of Nocturnals.

  2. I love it when authors break the traditional rules and create something special. I think kids can understand the shift in POV as easily as adult readers. I love the cover on this book.

  3. Sounds like a really cool series and unique approach to storytelling~ and I love that cover!


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