Dawn Montgomery

Back on Track

In Challenges on July 10, 2013 at 3:22 pm


I’ve been consumed with the final prep (read through, synopsis, etc.) of Thunder and Roses. When it’s off to the editor, I can move back into my current wips full throttle. Today is the first day I’m back on track with my CampNaNoWriMo story Spirit Lake and my Halloween story Voodoo Carnival. Both books are like movies in my head. The creep factor is especially high (in one an Alaskan woman is haunted by restless spirits who’ve been murdered and in the other bizarre murders are taking place around an abandoned carnival in East Texas).

I found myself frustrated with atmosphere. How do you create a visceral reaction to setting? What words will invoke the mood of foreboding without being cheesy? I have no problem writing highly charged action scenes, intensely sensual love scenes, or really making the reader’s skin crawl when they get inside the head of a very bad guy. So why, then, was I having trouble with these two books?

A dear friend gave my NaNo group a link to Mediabistro’s 90 Writing Tools in a Single Post. In my despair, I combed through them, frustrated with my inability to figure out what was wrong with each book. In my mind they were separate problems. Two books. Two problems. Right?


They had a link to an article about how Stephen King writes imagery. Now, say what you will about his writing (I love a great deal of his stuff so no bashing, please), but the man can spook the hell out of you with a few well placed paragraphs. The summary was kind of meh, but linked to his original article at Wordplayer. I jumped over there and the article blew my mind. He mentioned things I already knew how to do. Visualize a scene down to the smallest details and use it when you’re writing a scene, chapter, book, etc. I used to actively do this when I did DMing back or preparing for a theatre performance back in the day. It’s a tool I already used in my fight scenes. Smack the forehead moment. I took ten minutes and visualized the carnival. My heroine sees it for the first time behind the lens of ย camera so I focused on that. Her limits in peripheral vision, how things look, the way it feels, sounds. I opened my eyes and wrote the scene, evoking the feelings of neglect and eeriness I was going for.

Maybe this will help you too. Who knows?

#ROW80 update

Three projects this week:

  1. Spirit Lake: I am so behind on this one, but I’m happy with where it’s going. After T&R, Voodoo Carnival, and the Cleis Press Submission (Private Cowboy), I’ll be back on track with this book (my CampNaNoWriMo goal for the month ๐Ÿ™‚ )
  2. Voodoo Carnival: I’ve got it squared away now. Tonight I’ll go the distance and get this baby really going.
  3. Private Cowboy: Tomorrow this hot little number is my primary focus. I should have it done and ready for submission by Friday. It’s a very short story. ๐Ÿ˜€
  1. You can do it! You’re getting things in order after a busy first of the month! Now that you’ve figured things out, you can move and groove. Now I just need to figure my own crap out. LMAO

  2. Links! Useful, awesome, helpful writing links…. ooh! I’m really glad you posted this, Dawn. Thanks, because not only will it help me with some stuff I’m working on, but it will also give me a chance to cheer you on sooner (you’d best be agreeing with me–I expect to hear great news in the next month of stories written and submitted ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

    Keep writing!

  3. Thank you for the link to Stephen King’s article about imagery. Exactly what I needed to hear today. I’ve been angsting a little bit over this issue. How much should I “show” and how much should I leave out… Good luck with your goals!

    • I’m so glad it helped you, Tanja. The man has a way of cutting through the bs and getting to the heart of the matter. All those years teaching, I suppose. Good luck with your goals and I LOVE the poser work you’ve done on your character! Stunning!

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