Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Back to WIP - or not??

New year – New Aspirations!
 At least that’s what it’s meant to be. But maybe the aspirations are not so new…  It’s been quite a while since I worked on my WIP and whilst I did have every intention of continuing with it, I now feel like starting a new project! I guess it’s the New Year thing – new broom and all that!
The thing is my WIP is 60000 words done so it seems a shame to abandon it. But I won’t shelve it forever. I think I’ll just get going on something else and keep it in the background. I will, in any case, have to sit and re-read it all anyway - just to remind myself of where I was at. So maybe when I’ve done that I’ll feel re-invigorated and excited by it again!!
Perhaps the solution is to try a few short stories and then see how I feel… (sighs and pulls face…)

 But then again – some brilliant ideas are calling out to me. They just don’t want to wait on the backburner and I worry that I will forget or lose the main idea if I prevaricate. I have made notes but that’s not the same as starting a new project fired up with the enthusiasm and excitement which will carry me through the first chapters.
I know many people say they start a work with great hope and then part way through go stale and abandon it, especially if the writing gets tough or the plot starts going nowhere. But I must say I am a finisher and rarely give up on a work even when it gets hard. There is satisfaction in just completing and often the work is better for struggling through some hard parts.
So, maybe I will get back to my original work, after all…
Are you a 'completer/finisher' of one work or do you have more than one project on the go at a time?

Monday, 13 January 2014

In the dark of the night...

“With light is coupled warmth; with darkness cold”

I guess there is something so old and primordial about using night-time or darkness to enhance the fear factor in thrillers. It strikes me that the dark can be a source of so many fears that in and of itself it could be something to explore in depth in a novel.

An old favourite of mine, Dennis Wheatly,   once wrote that existence is dominated by two powers – light and darkness. When life is devoid of light all progress is halted and if darkness continues unchecked death and decay will follow. So light is therefore associated with powers of good and darkness with evil.

Everyone is familiar with the notion that everyday familiar non-threatening things in the day time can take on a strong aura of menace at night. I know this can be attributed to something as simple as not being able to see well but God (or whatever you believe created us!) has equipped us with a certain amount of night vision. But there again, maybe it’s the fact that one can see in the dark to a certain extent (especially in good moonlight) but not with full acuity. This allows the imagination permission to come into play to fill in the bits our senses are not able to pick up. And no matter how hard you try to neutralise imagination it will have its day!

Many children are fearful of the dark as night-time/sleep-time is a time when they have to cope on their own, without the reassurance of others around them. No small wonder then, that they imagine bogeymen in the wardrobe and things crawling under the bed! 

So it is a well-used vehicle in many horror/thriller stories where one wants to create an unsettling fearful atmosphere or simply to enhance the tension and fudge what’s real and what is not. There is always a feeling of relief for the reader when night turns to day and the plot can roll merrily along without the uncertainty of the dark interfering.

Dastardly deeds are also often committed under cover of darkness and it is easy to see how darkness is associated with evil and how day (light) with goodness. All extremely subjective, by the way, but that is how it is generally perceived.

I feel the dark is a very useful tool to use in supernatural, thriller stories and I use it frequently. In fact my latest book has ‘dark’ in its title and I notice that many more thriller/horror stories use the word in their titles too. It signals a certain kind of story to a read, does it not?

What do you think? Do thriller stories set in darkness conjure up feelings of fear and tension in you?


Sunday, 5 January 2014

Killer Titles Make Best sellers?

Titles and names of characters have always been the bane of my life. In most areas of my life I find decision making relatively easy but names and titles kill me! I find it almost impossible and when I think I have decided on a title I have second thoughts and start contemplating more names and using even more precious time ruminating about them.

Why this should be such a problem I don’t know – except I am aware that the title and names are so very important for reaching out to Agents, Editors and finally readers. Whenever I choose a thriller, I am first attracted to the title and then the back cover blurb before I decide whether to read it or not. Simple really…

If a title (and maybe the jacket design) seems hard-hitting and/or brash and attention grabbing I will, at least, read the back of the book. I think the best thriller titles are short one or two word ‘headline grabbing’ sensations. Titles such as ‘Armageddon’, ‘Intensity’, ‘Velocity’ and ‘Vampire’ suggest an intensity of suspenseful action that you would find in most good thrillers whilst ‘Blossom hill’ ‘Five Days in Paris’ and ‘The Price of Love’ suggest quite a different read.

The Shortest title award and the most curious (until I read it) goes to ‘It’ by Stephen King.

So what kind of title attracts you?

And may I also wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year!!