Saturday, February 5, 2011

Your One Thing

This is going to be just a short note from me today. After this, I'm going to curl up somewhere in my blanket with a lovely book, and try to forget that my throat is sore and my nose is all plugged up. Ugh.

Sitting here, I can hear the wind blowing up outside. The house isn't super heated, but there's just enough warmth coming from the fireplace to lend a feeling of coziness to the living room. The lights are mostly dim, and the clock's ticking is just a faint little sound I can hear over my clicking keys.

Then, there's the wind.

Wind is such an element to a story. Have you ever noticed in books how wind, or the absence of wind, makes such an impression on the writer?

  1. The MC enters into a frightening situation: something happens, and there's silence. Not even a breeze stirs.
  2. An MC is on a life-and-death escape, and the wind is snatching at her as she monkey-bars her way across a balcony's rafters.
  3. The MC has just lost her one true love. She stands on a hill top and weeps. The wind pulls her hair up like a banner.
There's just so much good USE one can get out of the element of wind in a story. Wind adds that aura of mystery, tension, and poetic imagery that all stories need. Wind is one of my favourite elements to work with. It's a sense that I use frequently in my books.

What about you? What's the one thing you find you're drawn to the most, the one thing you like to insert that adds a heightened sense of drama, tension, or pacing to your story?


  1. What an interesting post! I hadn't noticed that about wind but now that you mention it, I bet it does...

    For me I think it might be aloneness. Whether it's a welcome solitude or a fear filled loneliness, I find it powerful both in what I read and what I try to write.

    Happy to have discovered your blog and I hope you feel much better soon!

  2. I'm glad I dropped by today! Very interesting post. I find that I like to insert unexpected turns of phrase. If it's a dark scene I thrown in something quirky. If it's a light scene, I add a touch of sadness. I'm weird that way ;-) Hope you feel better!

  3. I hope you are feeling better soon. A good book is the best cure--in my opinion. I'm trying to think of one thing I always put in my writing. Hmm. I'd have to save humor. Even if I'm writing a sad story, there has to be humor in it somewhere. I guess it's because I wouldn't want to be in a world without humor. I think it's what keeps us going sometimes.

  4. I LOVE using the wind when I write. I like to use animals too: robins managing to pluck worms out of frozen soil (hope in the midst of hopelessness), crows hopping about on one leg (comic hope), a screech owl swooping down on something small and defenseless (panic), etc.

    Our fireplace is about the only warm place in our house too. But the sense of security and coziness it creates is worth a whole day of central heating.

  5. In my current WIP, it would be rain, thunder and lightning. In Secondhand shoes it was birds.

  6. I don't know if it's one thing, I guess it is. But it's a big one. I like angsty love gone wrong.

  7. Good points! I love "wind lifts her hair like a banner"

  8. I have a lot of beach scenes in my WIP. In some the mood is light, in others, frightening. I'm making use of beach smells: cotton candy, sunblock, hotdogs. And less than yummy: rotting seaweed, garbage on beach, the odor of unclean animal cages in the boardwalk sideshow.

  9. Oh, hope you're feeling better. I like the wind too. Lately, it seems I'm going with rain, gentle drops from heaven. They have a special meaning for one of my characters in my WIP.

  10. Wow, thanks for all the comments. I loved seeing what youse all added to your stories.

    Anna, loneliness is a great pull for a book, isn't it? I think lots of people can empathize with the feeling of being alone.

    Samantha, that's so awesome! I'll need to work on that, see if I can work the incongruous element in a dark scene. That sounds like a GREAT draw for readers.

    Kelly, you're right. Humour is a MUST. What a sad world it would be if it was all just tears and sadness.

    Mary, I love the analogies you have. That's a great idea. :)

    Shelly, love the thought of thunder, wind, and rain. DRAMA!

    Beth, "angsty love" made me chuckle. Thanks for that.

    PK, thanks so much! :-*

    Catherine, beach scenes are really cool. I love bits where the author describes the mood of the water, whether it reflects the MC's mood or not. Descriptions are ALWAYS good... puts you in the scene.

    Beverly, I love the way you said "rain, gentle drops from heaven." I already feel a connection with your MC!

    Thanks for the pointers! Now I have more elements to work with. :)

  11. I like wind, but I can't say I use it much myself. I think smell is an underused sense and I've gotten to use it/think about it a lot in the current WIP

  12. This is a great post. Hope you're feeling better. I totally agree about how the wind influences feeling in a story. It's the same with rain. I'd have to say that using weather in general expresses character and story emotion the best. But is it the character influencing the weather, or the weather influencing how the character feels? In my book coming out in April, I use weather a lot. On the demon planet of Dracwald, there is no sunshine-EVER. I use gray skies to evoke the constant misery felt by the populace.

  13. Jessie, I agree. I REALLY need to work on smell. And touch. Yeah, and on every other sense that's not SIGHT! :D

    Rebecca, your story sounds so cool! I can't wait 'til it comes out. I bet you can't, either. :)

  14. Great post! I don't know if I have one specific thing, but I like to include trees and nature in my writing. It has a calming effect on me...not necessarily on my characters, though.

  15. I like details, especially touch and sound. And now that I think about it, my first novel does have a number of wind references.

  16. Hope you are feeling better!

    I love the senses details. I try to incorp them all. one of my favorites along with sunshine.


  17. Love this post, Cat. However, I like Kelly am trying desparately to think of one thing I try to incorporate in each of my stories. And I'm afraid I have to steal Kelly's answer because it's also mine. I always try to get some humor in my stories. I also try to have some kind of moral or message for the little ones.

    I'm not the greatest at describing scenes like the wind howling, but I'm getting better! Thanks for the post, it really got us all thinking! And that can HURT sometimes!

  18. This got a lot of great answers! Thanks so much for all the great ideas, everyone!


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