Monday, October 13, 2008

Building the layers in your writing

A recent email from someone has inspired me to begin sharing a bit more on building craft on this blog. Typically I try to focus on marketing writing and reflections on the writer's life, but this person's comment took me back to my early writing days.

I remembered when I couldn't seem to get the hang of creating a scene. It felt flat without any real interaction between the place, the character and the reader. Then I read a book where the exact same moment was lived through the eyes of three different characters. In that instant I realized the power of POV to develop the location of the story as a character. In the book I read there was a hero, heroine and bad guy all approaching a clearing in a woods. This may seem cliche but try creating it in your mind.

Think about the different fears, expectations, goals, and 'baggage' that will influence each person's perception of what is happening there. I'm going to paste below the example I shared with my new friend. We now join the email, already in progress:[laugh]

...give a physical reaction to an emotional one. Imagine a lady is walking in to a dark cabin after getting lost at sunset in a woods.

"She stopped just inside the door of the old cabin. Cobwebs crackled as she pulled them down with a stick and twisted them around and around like the cotton candy man of her childhood. Only this place wasn't a carnival and the white strands balling up on her stick were flavored with dread."

Physical=hearing the crackle of cobwebs.
Emotional= contrasting this terrifying moment with something from childhood.
Physical=flavor of cotton candy
emotional=flavored with fear.

This is not a perfect example but rather a rough draft. I want you guys to try to build off of this. Let's have fun. Take the scene and build on it. Give us more sensory detail. Why is she in the woods? Escaping a bad guy? Broken down car? Because she's mad at her husband and she's run to the cabin of her childhood to think?

If you have your own blog and want to build on this then tell us in the comments [with a link] so we can all come see it and comment. If you don't want to do that, then edit this piece and put it in the comments of this blog so we can all see the creativity of each other. Don't be shy!! Let's have fun!!

Tomorrow [Tuesday Oct. 14th] Tiffany Colter Fiction launches with the first chapter of my Daphne du Maurier award winning Manuscript "A Face in the Shadow". I hope you all will subscribe to have each chapter sent to you, that you'll spread the word about it and that you'll enjoy reading it.

So, I'm off. I'm teaching at the Midwest Dreams writing conference Saturday, Oct. 18th. I hope to see many of you there!!

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

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