Creative Writing: Linking Emotions And Atmosphere To Solid Objects

In my last article, I blogged about the use of the Pathetic Fallacy in fiction, explaining why I like to see it in some circumstances, especially as it can help develop psychological tension in thrillers.  In particular, I like storm weather scenes as long as they are done properly. I also like the practice of linking emotions to solid objects… for example, (to borrow a bit of a cliché), “the sky stretched endlessly above her, making her feel more alone than ever.”  Certainly, a cliché, but the endless sky does help accentuate the character’s sense of loneliness. 

In the latest writing sample from my current working novel in progress, I take the sense of menace as perceived by the central character a stage further and link it to some real event going on around him, adding the storm as the tension mounts.  The novel falls somewhere in between the crossover between teen fiction and adult thriller/Young Adult.  At this point of the story, Gavin (18), a classical musician on a prestigious summer school piano course, has gone down to the river for the day following complications with a student on the course, Philippa.  The previous  day, Philippa had expressed a romantic interest in Gavin before springing a nasty surprise on him, and Gavin can’t cope with the humiliation.  Note that the village itself has a tragic history, including a unsolved serious crime.

I shivered suddenly and turned round, certain that someone nearby was watching me, but as usual, I didn’t see anyone. I just sensed the person close by but out of reach. Observing me, studying my movements.  The sky changed colour, taking on dark overtones, and a blast of wind charged at me. From the corner of my eye, I caught a flicker of movement, the deft movement of a figure hiding behind a clump of trees, but when I glanced sideward, the figure had gone. Perhaps I’d imagined the figure, the movement. Maybe I’d seen a small animal, a stray dog. But then, I heard the soft crunch of footsteps, just like I had last night on the way down to the abandoned factory, and I hurried on through light drizzle to the main lane near the railway station, looking over my shoulders several times. Again, I detected activity: sudden movement, the blue outline of a rain jacket, the unmistakable silver casing of a cheap digital camera, followed by image shooting sounds and a brief flash. Then, nothing. Just rain.

I hurried up the lane, searching for cover as lightning streaked across the sky, followed by downpour.  Who the hell was the person?  A journalist from some sleazy tabloid?   Shards of rain pelted the ground, stinging my face and hands, and the wind worsened, almost blowing me over.  I ran to the teashop near the Hiker’s Pub and took shelter in there from the weather, ordering lunch and drinking tea while bursts of thunder sounded over area and the rain went grey and wild.

The thunder grew in volume, causing everywhere to shudder almost. The wind blew at fences and the sky kept darkening until it was nearly black, but no figure in a blue rain jacket; and then the teashop door opened and in walked the two squaddie-lads from last night. When they saw me, they exchanged nods. One grinned, the other scowled, and I heard words to the effect of, ‘Get him later.’

Meanwhile, my debut novel Secrets by Lawrence Estrey is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for  Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers

 

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Developing Tension In Fiction, Storms and The Pathetic Fallacy

The Pathetic Fallacy…attributing human feelings and characteristics to inanimate objects, pets, or nature (e.g. the weather).

Clearly, the technique has advantages and disadvantages.  In terms of scene setting and plot, the technique can bring about greater tension and intensity through foreshadowing:  hinting at what is in store.  On the other hand, people can often overuse a technique to the point where it becomes a cliché – hence, lazy writing that reveals nothing new.

I admit to liking the Pathetic Fallacy, especially in regards to stormy weather.  In the sample below from my current novel in progress, central character Gavin (18), a classical musician on a prestigious summer school piano course, has gone off for the day following complications with a girl on the course, Philippa.  Philippa has expressed a romantic interest in Gavin before springing a nasty surprise on him, and Gavin can’t cope with the humiliation. The scene is set in the north of the UK and the thriller falls in two genres; teen fiction and mainstream adult thriller. 

By this time next week, I’ll be back in South London, I told myself as I watched the river. It will as though none of this ever happened. By this time next month, I’ll be getting ready to go to uni to study music. Philippa will have gone from my life totally.

The sky changed colour, taking on dark overtones, and a blast of wind charged at me. I hurried on through light drizzle to the main lane near the railway station, searching for cover as lightning streaked across the sky, followed by downpour.  Shards of rain pelted the ground, stinging my face and hands, and the wind worsened, almost blowing me over. I ran to the tea shop near the Hiker’s Pub and took shelter in there, ordering lunch and drinking tea while bursts of thunder sounded over the area and the rain went grey and wild.

Meanwhile, my debut novel Secrets by Lawrence Estrey is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for  Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers

Spring Weather And Muggy Heat

After a long winter, spring finally came a few weeks ago, but now the skies have turned mostly grey again and the weather has become humid.  I haven’t had much time to concentrate on my photos, but yesterday I caught several images in Highgate Wood, North London, while walking a friend’s dog.  For a long time, I’ve taken an interest in black and white photography. I worked on yesterday’s images in GIMP (Levels, Color Balance, Saturation and Hue), then turned one of the originals into greyscale and concentrated on the contrast.  Heady stuff.

 highgatewoodmay woodsin pringbw

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers

Received this awesome review on my second novel EggHead, a psychological thriller set in the UK.  Teen Fiction/Young Adult:

5.0 out of 5 stars suspense in a grim northen landscape 17 Feb 2013
By ***
Format:Paperback
Egghead is a youngster stranded in a grey windswept northern seaside town. He got involved in something horrible three years before and has had to hide here. We get mysterious glimpses of the past in flashbacks. The scenes are vividly painted and the characters are gradually revealed. You’re kept on edge as the story races on. You can’t put it down. The atmosphere is dark and menacing, and you are swept forward to what seems an inevitable grim conclusion
 
Lawrence  Estrey (lawrenceez)  is a musician and a writer from the UK.    Recently, he published his second novel EggHead, a psychological thriller set in the north of England.  Here, he answers some common questions about EggHead and his life in general:
 
Why did you choose to write teen fiction?    Several reasons.  First of all, my debut novel Secrets contained several scenes told from the perspective of children and teenagers (in this case, a ten-year-old boy and a sixteen-year-old girl), and I’d enjoyed the experience of writing from these perspectives.  
 
Second,  having read a great deal of adult fiction, mostly crime/thriller, I’d observed a type of stalemate situation in the personal lives of the major characters – i.e. they were often disillusioned in some way (especially crime investigators) or recovering from major problems like PTSD. I felt this tendency often created a tired feel, and in many case I would abandon reading a story about half of the way through.  In teenage fiction, however, the protagonists generally have far more energy and are prepared to take all sorts of crazy risks.  That’s what I like the best…craziness, risk taking – plus, raw emotion.
 
Anything of yourself in EggHead?  Not exactly, though I lived in a coastal resort for a few weeks, and like central character EggHead, I wandered around aimlessly during that time. I also drifted into lots of trouble in my teens, so I can relate to some of EggHead’s experiences.  In the story, EggHead is a heavy smoker, just like I was for years and years, but I managed to quit smoking completely while working on the final draft of the novel.  Haven’t touched a cigarette since.
 
Did you find writing a second novel easier?  In certain ways.  For instance, the novel took just nine months to write while Secrets had taken about six years.  In other ways, though, I found the writing far more difficult.  I had higher standards.  I kept going back through the manuscript and pruning, cutting out sections that I didn’t feel were good enough. 
 
Are you working on anything else?   Yes, another psychological thriller about music students set in the north of England.  Like the other two novels, this latest involves an element of cross over with some of the scenes written from the perspective of a young adult and other sections from when he first goes to study in a university environment, aged eighteen. I’m also a musician, having trained in classical piano, and so can relate to a lot of what happens in this next novel.
 

Meanwhile, my debut novel Secrets is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for  Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

 
 

Nice And Hot, Spring Weather

The warm weather continues with plenty of sunshine and daylight.  Again, I took some photos on my way to work yesterday and edited them in GIMP later on in the evening.  As usual, I selected one of the images to go into my black and white photography album, as I have a keen interest in black and white photography. 

(Near Totteridge and Whetstone Tube Station, North London):

railwayone rialwaytwo rialwaytreesbw