Set the Scene and You Set the Mood

Why is the setting in your story important?

 

Your characters need a time and place in which to move. The setting answers the “when” and the “where” of your story, giving it a frame of reference. This adds authenticity and credibility to your storytelling.

When you “set the scene,” you “set the mood,” the atmosphere.

 

Spooky scene Creative Commons https://pxhere.com/en/photo/744081

 

Creepy and spooky

is quite different from

sunny with ocean salt-air and sandy beaches.

A setting in the country

offers vastly different opportunities and possibilities

then one in the city.

 

 Since October is Halloween month, let’s work on a spooky kind of setting.

 

Creepy crow – Creative Commons  https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1215912

 

Fatigued and fighting fear, I followed the mostly hidden pathway through the misty forest glades. Perhaps it would take me back to the familiar.

I have no idea how long I had been struggling to find my way. In the early hours of the morning, I came upon a quaint and rather strange little cottage. Relief and then apprehension washed over me. How odd. Something one might find in a Grimm’s fairy tale, I mused. It had a spooky charm about it. The faded wood and moss-filled roof gave it plenty of character, and it was surprisingly well-kept.

The warm, flickering candlelight cast an eerie glow through several stained glass windows. I stopped for a moment, transfixed by their ethereal beauty.

My skin began to tingle. The cottage was inviting in many ways, but my instincts warned me to enter with caution.

 hdwallpaperup.com – /fantasy-girl-house-land-wallpaper/

I really have no choice, I reasoned. The glow from a hanging lantern guided me to the entrance. I’m lost and cold. I’m hungry, I’m tired, not to mention, scared. At that point, I realized I was more scared of being lost than of what I might encounter behind the creepy door.” 

Carrie Wachsmann ©

A Cup of Tea While We Discuss Your Antagonist?

Welcome…

Come, sit by the fire and I’ll pour you a special cup of tea – Midnight Fog it’s called.

Recipe for MIDNIGHT FOG

  1.  Steep a bag of Red Rooibos tea in  1/2 cup of boiling water.
  2. Whip 1/2 cup of chocolate milk (or substitute like chocolate almond milk) in blender
  3. Pour into a sauce pan and heat.
  4. Wisk to create frothy foam.
  5. Add the heated chocolate milk to tea.
  6. Garnish with pumpkin spice and raw honey.

 

HALLOWEEN lends itself naturally to villains expressing themselves in clever and creative attire.  If it’s not the headless horseman or the age-old Frankenstein, it’s Darth Vader or Zombies hulking the dark streets in our neighborhoods.

This brings us to my favorite topic – storytelling – and in this case, talking about the very important, three-dimensional character, the antagonist.

Webster’s dictionary defines antagonist as… “one that contends with or opposes another – the adversary or opponent.”

What would storytelling look like without a well-developed, strong,  fierce and compelling antagonist who’s as well thought-out and multi-dimensional as the hero (or protagonist)?

You wouldn’t have much of a story now would you?

The hero depends on the antagonist to challenge him, force him to overcome… to change… to win.

 

The antagonist can be:

  • a main character
  • one’s dark side vs one’s “good” side (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
  • things like the  weather (a hurricane, volcano, 40 below freezing temperatures)  which the protagonist must overcome or avoid

 

Most times we think of the antagonist as the villain. Is that always the case?

Could the hero be the villain and the antagonist his/her adversary? Something to think about.

Well, the tea-pot is empty. Time to spice up my antagonist villain in my latest book – Treasure Trap – coming soon. Watch for it.

Antagonist Mrs. Polzin in Treasure Trap - Carrie ©
The mean Mrs. Polzin in Treasure Trap – Carrie ©
The mean Mrs. Polzin in Treasure Trap – Carrie ©

Carrie – Storyteller

 

 

 

Read & Write by Candle Light to Step-up Your Writing

So…  how will reading and writing by candle light step-up my writing?

There was a time when this antiquated practice was the one and only option. But today??!! Is this really necessary? Certainly not. But, why not humor me?

Something doesn’t have to be necessary, to be effective.

Doesn’t simply the thought – the visual, translate you into story land?

What marvelous stories can one conjure up with an image like this?

And then… what if you actually did light that candle…?

 

Go ahead… light your candle.

Here are 5 sure-fire, practical tips to step-up your writing.

 

1.  Take time to read... and read some more.

Intentionally expose yourself to different writing styles and genres.

Stretch yourself – get out of your comfort zone.

Familiarize yourself with authors whose work captures your attention and inspires you.

Ask yourself, “What can I learn from these authors?”

Take notes…. which brings us to our 2nd. point.

 

2.  Keep a journal.

Keeping a journal improves long-term memory retention and sharpens your ability to visualize what you are reading or hearing.

A journal is also used to document events; events with details you might wish to include in your writing at some point in time.

Write down your ideas when you think of them. Keep your pen and paper close to your candle – or laptop – or notepad – or iPad –  or cell phone.

If something catches your attention, intrigues or interests you, make a note of it.

 

3.  Join a writing group.

This group can be online or in your community.

This is an excellent way to meet fellow writers and authors.

Note: Be sure to ask them what they do to improve their writing skills. Perhaps introduce them to reading and writing by candle light.

Joining a writers group in your community has greater benefits then just the online connecting.

 

Why? You get to practice your out-loud reading skills – to present to a live audience. Every aspiring author needs this experience. Don’t bypass this important part of your writing journey. Everybody has stage fright. You’ll just have to get over it.

 

Practicing my out-loud reading skills. ©
Practicing my out-loud reading skills. ©

4.  Attend a writer’s workshop – or take a writing class every now and again.

 

Even though I had no interest in technical writing, I took a technical writing course because I knew it would improve my overall writing skills. I gained new perspectives about writing for my audience.

I also took expository writing, writing for children, essay writing, journalism, and, of course, creative writing courses.

My husband taught me script writing.

Workshops and seminars/classes are also a great way to meet other authors, writers, editors and publishers; people you need to have in your sphere of influence if you are a serious writer.

 

5. Who’s your writing buddy? 

Someone whom you can trust with your creative endeavors. Someone who will give you honest feedback. Someone who’s rooting for you. Someone who’ll light that candle with you.

And you can do the same for them.

 

 

Writing your Memoirs Leaves a Legacy

 

Novelist Stephen King once said, “I write to find out what I think.”

Your memoirs are a LEGACY.

Putting them on paper gives friends and family (as well as yourself) the opportunity to FULLY appreciate these valuable, interesting and “uniquely yours,” experiences.

Writing your memoirs is different from writing your autobiography.

An autobiography is the complete story of your life.

A memoir is one or more stories from your life. You can write as many memoirs as you have memories.

Outline the events of the story sequentially. Then start your story with a little action. You don’t have to necessarily start the story from the beginning. Weave your story, create suspense. Get your reader hooked, looking for more. Then fill in the pieces – the background – as you go.

Here’s what I do…
Close my eyes. Take myself back in time to the memory I’ve chosen to write about. Now, using my five senses, I recreate that scene. What do I see? What do I feel, hear, smell, taste?

I transfer those thoughts on to paper. I want my readers to feel like they are there with me experiencing what I experienced.

Writing memoirs is the easiest kind of writing to do – because you know the story, inside and out.

 

Writing memoirs hand and pen