Tag Archives: captivating settings

Novel Writing Tips and Techniques From Authors of Second Wind Publishing — Excerpt: Settings & Mood

Novel Writing Tips and Techniques from Authors of Second Wind Publishing is the 100th book published by Second Wind.  The book is dedicated to everyone who made this accomplishment possible: our authors, our readers, our friends, and our followers. Thank you!

EXCERPT FROM NOVEL WRITING TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FROM AUTHORS OF SECOND WIND PUBLISHING

Captivating Settings

By
Deborah J Ledford
Author of:

Staccato, Snare, and Crescendo

MOOD TO CONVEY SURROUNDINGS

At the top of chapter 22 in STACCATO the lead investigators witness the surroundings where Nicholas’s vehicle is found:

Hawk and Stiles arrived to a scene bathed in generator-driven white-blue spotlights. County vehicles were parked on U.S. Highway 74, resembling a young boy’s scattered toys. The cruisers’ revolving red and blue lights added to the eerie glow.

One hundred yards below the roadway, officers milled about on the muddy bank of the Nantahala River. They searched the area around the crushed vehicle, barely recognizable as a black Porsche. The sports car sat precariously on the riverbank, suspended by a cable attached to the rear of a tow truck.

White-capped ripples rushed past, glinting in the moon’s light. It had been hours since the Porsche had been discovered, but the scene still buzzed with activity.

This is an example of mood conveyed within setting at the top of chapter 57 in SNARE:

Hawk’s shoulder throbbed. Shooting pains that ripped to the bone brought tears to his eyes. The smell of fresh coffee and baking pie would normally be inviting, but instead, his stomach churned in a cataclysm of nerves. Every sound seemed amplified. Even the clock over the stove ticked louder than he thought possible.

***

Novel Writing Tips and Techniques is available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon (Print & Kindle), Barnes and Noble (Nook), Smashwords (all ebook formats including palm devices)

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Novel Writing Tips and Techniques From Authors of Second Wind Publishing — Excerpt: Interior and Exterior Settings

Novel Writing Tips and Techniques from Authors of Second Wind Publishing is the 100th book published by Second Wind.  The book is dedicated to everyone who made this accomplishment possible: our authors, our readers, our friends, and our followers. Thank you!

EXCERPT FROM NOVEL WRITING TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FROM AUTHORS OF SECOND WIND PUBLISHING

Interior and Exterior Settings

By
Deborah J Ledford
Author of:

Staccato, Snare, and Crescendo

BE CONCISE IN DESCRIBING INTERIOR SETTINGS

Let the reader become comfortable. Show them the room or area your characters will inhabit. For instance, in SNARE, the reader learns quite a lot the first time we meet Katina’s nemesis, her father who has just been released after seventeen years in prison after killing her mother:

In a flophouse off 37th Street, Karl Brandt lay on the thin mattress in his third-story room studying a discolored splotch on the ceiling. The quiet made him uneasy and restless. Muffled street sounds urged him from the bed. He wrenched the window open and sat on the radiator beneath the glass to watch the strangers below. Accustomed to seeing only prisoners’ orange jumpsuits or correctional officers’ bland uniforms, he still had difficulty taking in the brightly colored clothing of the passersby.

 

In STACCATO, this is what the unofficial mortician of Swain County, North Carolina, finds in his morgue:

Once inside the morgue, he wedged a straight-back chair under the knob. He flipped on the light switch and the fluorescents hummed and flickered, then bathed the room in its flat, blue light. Henri’s mouth dropped open. He froze, gaping in disbelief. Six, black plastic-covered bundles seemed to swallow the light.

TAKE YOUR READER “THERE” WITH EXTERIOR SETTINGS

 You have the opportunity as a writer to take readers where they may have never visited before. This is a perfect way to show exactly what you wish to convey.

In SNARE, Hawk experiences Katina’s upbringing when he sees the traditional structures on the Taos Pueblo Indian reservation:

Two massive structures bookended a narrow creek. He counted five stories of staggered, uneven rooflines covered in more of the smooth mud, the levels stacked on top of each other like twin rectangular tiered cakes. Doors the color of turquoise marked openings in the walls.

***

Novel Writing Tips and Techniques is available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon (Print & Kindle), Barnes and Noble (Nook), Smashwords (all ebook formats including palm devices)

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Novel Writing Tips and Techniques From Authors of Second Wind Publishing — Excerpt: Captivating Settings

Novel Writing Tips and Techniques from Authors of Second Wind Publishing is the 100th book published by Second Wind.  The book is dedicated to everyone who made this accomplishment possible: our authors, our readers, our friends, and our followers. Thank you!

EXCERPT FROM NOVEL WRITING TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FROM AUTHORS OF SECOND WIND PUBLISHING

Captivating Settings

By
Deborah J Ledford
Author of:

Staccato, Snare, and Crescendo

One of the most important elements for any writer is to establish a “voice”—one that is recognizable, and somewhat expected by the reader as you continue to present more works. The ideal way to imprint your particular voice, cadence, tempo, tone is by setting your scenes. Once you truly place the reader at the location, whether it is a city, neighborhood, store or house, they become comfortable and willing to take the journey with the characters you present.

I write psychological suspense thrillers, therefore ominous settings are crucial in my novels. In this chapter you will find examples from STACCATO and SNARE to give you an idea of my personal writing voice when it comes to settings.

It is important to put the reader at ease and to give them a visual at the beginning of each chapter, especially the first time the location is presented.

The first scene of STACCATO, our hero, the twenty-year-old world-class pianist Nicholas Kalman discovers his father’s journal hidden away in the music room of the mentor who has raised him for a decade:

Compelled by the words, he found it impossible to re-shelve the book, or to dismiss the pages as utter fiction. He wondered what the written implications meant for him. Reading his father’s recollections, he had fallen under their spell. His father warned of the seductive elements to be cautious of—things that had already ensnared Nicholas.

Looking around, he recognized what his father had described as cunning manipulations of deceiving comfort: first edition books exhibited within walnut cases surrounding him in a ritualistic circle, the ebony Steinway grand piano that sat regally upon a platform in the middle of the music room, exactly as the writings stated. The details even noted how flames from the fireplace bathed the Pakistani rug in an amber glow.

In the introduction scene, first pages of SNARE, we meet eight-year-old Katina Salvo and within a few paragraphs discover the life she is burdened with in 1995:

She wished for a radio or record player, anything that might drown out the sounds. She wondered how long this fight would last. There had been so many in the past few weeks. They seemed to get worse each time.

Streaked ivory wallpaper peeled near the heat register in the cramped bedroom, furnished only with a twin-sized bed and scuffed desk. The room displayed none of the comforts the few kids she knew took for granted. A tattered, handmade quilt, passed down from her father’s mother, offered the only color in the room. Its unraveling edge brushed against the frayed braided rug on the floor.

Both of these examples provide setting information for the reader, and the details show insights to what have formed these characters as people.

Every element you introduce must be used somewhere within the novel you are writing. Think of this as foreshadowing what will come. Make certain that each prop (such as furniture) introduced is instrumental and will be used later in the novel. The point is not to introduce anything that will not be useful to the reader. Be careful of “info-dumping” when it comes to creating your settings.

For instance in SNARE, this is the description of the stage where Katina Salvo will perform live for the first time—where chaos soon ensues:

Stage lights were now set for a mere amber glow and soon she could make out a knot of people near the stage opening at the farthest end of the wings. As she moved to them, she noticed someone had closed the main curtain and she realized the effect would add to the mystery. It would also provide a much more dramatic entrance than if the drape were already open.

In STACCATO, Nicholas’s nemesis, Alexander Boden, is described in the setting Nicholas always thought of as home, where terror now reigns. This passage is described within the journal by Nicholas’s father that the son has discovered adds to the suspense that follows:

Lips holding an easy smile. Clothes flawless and crisp, shoes polished like mirrors, cufflinks gleaming in tailored shirts. The cane tapping.

Tap. Tap. Tap. You hear it approaching, but you can’t escape.

***

Novel Writing Tips and Techniques is available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon (Print & Kindle), Barnes and Noble (Nook), Smashwords (all ebook formats including palm devices)

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