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 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?
Three projects this week:
- 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 🙂 )
- Voodoo Carnival: I’ve got it squared away now. Tonight I’ll go the distance and get this baby really going.
- 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. 😀