First, we are inspired not to write predictable stories. (Can “predictable” be a synonym for “boring”?) While groundwork for events that affect our characters needs to be laid, it can be subtle enough that the reader (and character) gasps—at least figuratively—when the unexpected occurs.
In our “whodunit,” is our bad guy/his motive obvious from the start? Or do we keep our readers and characters guessing while we drop occasional tidbits to create a firm foundation for what will transpire? This is essential if we are to avoid a disenchanted “where’d-that-come-from” response among our readers. Remember our goals to write a great book and to build a fan base—we want our readers waiting eagerly for our next book. This means our present book had better be interesting, compelling, engaging, and memorable.
Second, how do we incorporate March’s contrasts into our stories? Think of scenes and characters as colors as the month progresses from winter’s starkness to spring’s vibrancy. While black and white offer the greatest contrast, life rarely comes in black and white. Gray areas in myriad shades abound. Yet gray is nondescript to the point of blandness. Do you like colorless characters and bland scenes? Will your readers? Think color.
- Red: energy, strength, power, danger, passion, love
- Orange: enthusiasm, happiness, encouragement, creativity, fall, harvest
- Yellow: warmth, cheerfulness, energy, instability, cowardice
- Green: growth, harmony, freshness, stability, healing, rest for the eyes, money
- Blue: depth, trust, loyalty, wisdom, intelligence, faith, truth, heaven, masculinity
- Purple: wealth, extravagance, dignity, independence, ambition, luxury, mystery
When you envision and write a scene, you can promote its connection to your readers by using “Technicolor.” It’s not necessary to describe every detail of the colors you “see,” but use the feelings they represent to charge your scenes and your characters with life, reality, and a spectrum of emotions that keeps your readers turning pages.
Is this “living color” contrast really necessary in building your story? Consider how you feel when
Finally, let’s revisit weather as it vacillates from warm to cool, windy to still, freezing to stifling, and interferes with plans, changes abruptly, gives life, and brings danger and death. The circle of life can be compared to the seasons, beginning with the birth of spring on March 20 and ending with the death imposed by winter. Use these changes to inspire you as you write stories that come full circle and promote character growth.
How do you use the lessons of March (or other months or seasons) to enhance your work? Do you construct your stories in living color to bring contrast to your readers? How do your characters change throughout your books?
|Linda Lane and her editing team mentor and encourage writers at all phases of the writing process. To learn more about what they do, please visit them at www.denvereditor.com.|