Thursday, August 28, 2014

Setting the scene...

Taking on board some of the criticisms/observations offered from readers of both Russian Redemption and Fated Encounters I have approached the new book from a slightly different angle. Don't get me wrong the criticisms/observation were offered in a friendly manner, designed to help me. 

I think it is very easy for a new author to make simple mistakes here, and these mistakes lead on to bigger mistakes, or at the very least an incomplete 'feeling' for the reader. The main focus is on the character development aspect - what (you may ask) has character development got to do with setting the scene? Quite a lot actually. Y'see you don't have to give a two chapter character history in order to give character development - Miss *** was born on ...... in ... weighed .... measured... she likes .... and .... so on - let's be honest, that would be incredibly boring for the reader. So, I'm practicing the art of subtlety for my next book.

Also, an incredibly important thing for me to remember is that the reader can't see what I can. For those new to this site I should probably explain that my method of writing is a little unusual in so much as my stories are more like recordings of what I see developing whilst sat in the private cinema inside my head - told you it was unusual! I need to focus more on painting the picture for the reader, the scene. But, in doing so I also want to work in little character details, a depth to their individual characters. 

I do have one slight concern though; I think it will be very easy to overplay the detail. I quite like giving the basic outline to my characters, descriptively. I actually want my readers to fill in a lot of the detail with their own imagery. I honestly think that this helps with the reader 'buy-in' to the story, characters that they can associate with. It's a fine line and, as always, there will be some people that want more or less.

Anyway, here is my latest offering, the first draft opening to my newest WIP temporarily known as 'A New Beginning'.

"Stood in an empty room, only twelve metres square, the light beige carpet revealed the indentations of where the furniture had settled for all those years. Tan line type rectangular shadows, perfect outlines of the pictures that once hung there, adorned the walls. He coughed, the echo bouncing around the empty room. He was deep in thought. In his head he could hear the ghostly voices of the memories that this room held; the children laughing, calling his name ‘Dad, Daddy’, plates smashing on the ground, the shouting, the anger, the crying; but mostly, the laughter. The four bedroomed, two story building, had been such a happy place for many years, but the last twelve months had been horrible. What made him feel worse was that he knew it was his fault.
His head was an unpleasant place to be right now, too many thoughts and memories racing around to make sense of, but none of it changed the situation he now found himself in; thirty one years of age and alone and it had to be that way.
He walked over to the window and looked out through the double glazing onto the overgrown weed ridden flower beds that used to be so perfectly kept, what was once a manicured lawn was a mass of tall yellow dandelions and patches of daisies. In the very centre of the compact garden, in its own ornamental circular bed of earth grew a rose bush, it’s fallen red petals scattered around, tinged brown with age and decay. He remembered buying that bush as a small twenty centimetre sapling, a present for his wife Julia after the birth of their first daughter.  It was a cloudless blue sky that filled his peripheral vision.
The family dog nuzzled at his masters thigh, nudging, pushing, almost encouraging him to walk away, to leave what was once the family home. Habitually the man bent forward and patted the three year old ex-rescue dog,
“Well mate, me and you against the rest of the world now, hey”
The dog licked the hand that was patting him, although his Master didn’t notice.
A deep sigh escaped his lips as he fought back tears. It wasn’t a matter of wanting to turn back time, it was the realisation that his family, his kids, were gone and that he would probably never see them again. That’s very hard for a parent.

After a couple of extra pats to his loyal dog and a quick ‘C’mon then’ they both turned and walked slowly from the bare room. Once outside he locked the front door, slipped the key into his pocket and walked to the car. He sat for a moment before starting the engine, a quick and painful last look at the white fronted house that had until very recently been their home, before following the removal truck as it pulled along the drive. A glance in the rear view mirror brought involuntary tears, even the dog, Muppet, whined as if he knew that their lives were about to take a massive leap into the unknown; they were both apprehensive."

I'd welcome any feedback or thoughts or contact through the website

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