Tuesday, August 23, 2016

It’s a Hot Time in My Office Tonight

WAIT! Before you gasp and hide your eyes, you should know this is NOT an X (or R) rated post. Instead, it honors this month’s theme on Blood Red Pencil: The Heat Is On — as that applies to writing.

by adwinda on morguefile

When thinking of heat, the first thing that come to this writer’s mind is a sizzling romance. After some contemplation, however, I conclude that “sizzling” need not be synonymous with explicit bedroom adventures. In fact, a romantic scene that ends with the reader standing outside the closing bedroom door may sizzle even more than a show-all, tell-all bird’s eye view of the action. How so? Imagination. Every reader’s experience is different, so the scene becomes personalized based on individual knowledge and lifestyle. Furthermore, the scene after the fact will speak volumes about what went on behind that closed door.

The next possibility that presents itself is fire. A roaring conflagration adds tension to almost any story as firefighters battle house fires, wild fires, burning high rises, shipboard blazes, and assorted other infernos. However, fire isn’t always destructive. Logs crackling in a fireplace on a chilly night warm those who sit close by. A bonfire beckons all comers to roast hot dogs, corn on the cob, foil-wrapped potatoes, and finish the meal with the sweet deliciousness of s’mores. A fire on a beach or a rocky ledge may signal searchers that lost hikers have been found. Every one of these scenarios can play a significant role in a great story.

by KFs on morguefile


Living in southern Colorado during this summer’s heat wave inspires more possibilities for story lines. What if a day trip into the desert ends with a vehicle breakdown many miles from civilization? Bottles of water in the cooler, ample for a day and a few extras for the evening, won’t keep anyone hydrated much longer than that in temperatures consistently running in three digits. A major interruption in power stops evaporative coolers and air conditioners alike, creating dangerous conditions for the elderly and others affected by high heat. Then what if the hospital’s back-up system breaks down before the power outage is repaired? Are potential stories coming to mind?

by David P. Whelan on Morguefile

Bottom line: The heat is on. The computer is fired up. Creative juices are broiling. It’s a hot time in my office tonight.

How about you? What’s under the broiler at your place?

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.

10 comments :

  1. I wonder how many book titles contain fire or its synonyms and related adjectives and if it increases sales?

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  2. That's a good question, Diana. It might be interesting to do some word searches of titles on Amazon.

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  3. Using my imagination pulls me into stories and keeps me on the edge of my seat. Seeing every single detail of what "heat" is occuring in a movie or story that I'm involved with, bores me and sometimes makes me angry because it leaves NOTHING to the imagination. Ho hum. Now my grandchildren are exposed to every detail on prime time TV and I can't help but wonder what this does to compassion and empathy, and intimacy with others in their tender, young lives when exposed to so much. Keep reminding us to resist the pressure to 'reveal all' and to think more deeply in how to engage the reader on a deeper level - their own level.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with your concern about youngsters who watch or read material meant for adult eyes. Childhood innocence is, very sadly, almost a thing of the past. Today, many first graders possess more knowledge about "grown-up" life than I ever imagined when I was a teenager...or even when I got married.

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  4. There are many ways to convey heat, all kinds of heat, and you detailed a few of them perfectly, Linda. Sometimes, heat in a movie can be just the way a character looks at another character. No words necessary. It's harder to convey that in a book, but when the chemistry is on, it comes through.

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  5. Exactly. Then the reader is pulled into the story, and the writer is challenged to keep that interest going all the way to the end.

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  6. These are also a great way to include metaphors in a book. Hot, cold, wet, dry, etc., can all be brought in, literally, to highlight something figurative - just as we've all done this month with the saying, "The heat is on".

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    Replies
    1. Definitely. Metaphors can be powerful tools to help the reader "feel" the story as well as read it. The emotional element is vital to keep most readers engaged.

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  7. I'm glad you pointed out that "heat" in a romance does not have to mean graphic sex scenes. Think of those great, classic movies that had characters just exchanging a look that was red hot.

    It really is a shame that not enough is left to imagination, whether it be books, movies, or television.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Maryann. Today's acceptance of graphic sex scenes has deprived me of enjoying a number of books, TV shows, and movies. In fact, that's what inspired the writing of my first completed novel.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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