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Creating Paranoia, A Brief Writing Section

Busy polishing my current novel in progress.

The story falls in the crime/thriller genre and therefore needs genuine excitement and fear. I find these hard to convey at times. For instance, should a writer pull out all the stops and make the section in question as thrilling as possible?  Or does less work better, leaving the reader to visualise the rest in their mind?

Possibly less.

The following is an excerpt from my novel, pretty early on in the story.

 ‘Sure.’ I give Mel a mock salute and leave, taking the lift down to the ground floor. When I step into the entrance hall, the same creepy silence from earlier greets me, interrupted only by the steady tap of drizzle on the glass dome in the ceiling. I’m standing in darkness. All the lights have gone out. I try one of the switches on the wall. Nothing happens. Odd. For a second or two, I think I hear footsteps on one of the balconies.

‘Hello?’ I call up in the darkness.

Silence.

The evening has turned chilly with the scent of damp fields and manure lingering in the air. The surrounding hills appear small in the fading daylight and tiny lights come from distant houses. I cross the grass plain. Stop.

Footsteps behind me.

I swing round. ‘Hello?’

No one there. Just a branch blowing in the wind.

I continue.

Stop again.

Look round.

Resume my walk.

Stop.

Glance back.

No one.

The Plot Thickens, Psychological Immediacy

Still busy ploughing through my novel, cutting redundant scenes that have no purpose at all in the story and upping the psychological immediacy throughout.

Psychological immediacy requires careful control. As creative writing instructors like to say, less is best. A few simple sentences that evoke powerful images in the reader’s mind without the writer having to do much work. Trying too hard destroys psychological immediacy. Sentences that create psychological immediacy should come naturally.

I’ve also cut a viewpoint character. The character in question appears in a couple of scenes, but those scenes don’t add to the story, just slow the pace. Plus, other, more dramatic scenes, bring out the same aspects of the story.

I’m 47, 000 words in the novel, about halfway through. The novel falls into the crme genre, with an emphasis on psychological thriller. The second half has a lot of challenges and I still haven’t decided exactly how to proceed with the progression of events, so I’m reading through the first half and making notes.

Difficult, but rewarding.