1. EVernon
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    EVernon New Member

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    My writing doesn't have the right "feel" to it?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by EVernon, Aug 4, 2012.

    I'm not sure how to explain my problem, but I hope some people here might understand what I mean. Also, I'm sorry if this topic has been covered before, but I couldn't find any threads which really mirrored the problem I'm having.

    Basically, I don't think I am a fabulous writer by any means, I'm quite new to writing, but I do think I have some ability. I can get my words out on paper, and I know where I want my stories to go. My biggest problem, is I cannot get my writing to 'feel' the way I want it to... you know you read some books, and they just have a dark, mysterious feel? Or a dreamy sort of quality? I can't figure out how to give my writing that sort of feel. Things I write always come out too tame. The novel I am working on right now is meant to be a dark sort of book, and despite writing about dark things, I can't get past the feeling that my writing sounds too 'young adult' and vanilla.

    I guess what I'm trying to ask is, how do you tailor your writing to the genre you are trying to achieve? How do you make a novel feel 'dark'?
     
  2. Dryriver
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    Dryriver Senior Member

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    To make a novel feel dark?

    Well, I think it is partially a question of using the right words (vocabulary) and the right location descriptions (the location, the quality of the light in it, maybe some rusty metal objects in it, any strange/freaky noises or sounds that can be heard and so forth... like the whisper of wind around the outside of a building).

    I would poke around a Thesaurus for synonyms of words like "dark", "dim", "old", "weathered", "rusty" and so forth.

    Remember that what the reader will see in their mind is your "cinematography" of scenes. And in writing, cinematography is achieved by using the right descriptions.

    Maybe also analyze famous "dark books" to see what technique is used. Maybe look at Bram Stoker's "Dracula", or George Orwell's "1984" or at some HP Lovecraft, or Edgar Allan Poe's "macabre" tables...

    Hope that helps a bit...

    Good Luck!
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Arrrrgaaaah.

    Much better idea.

    Also, mood is affected more by character reactions than by environmental embellishments.
     
  4. LuminousTyto
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    LuminousTyto Senior Member

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    You have to work very hard to get readers to be able to feel a dark creepyness about your writing. And here's the pot of gold. It's all about setting and foreshadowing coming events which are dark/scary.

    Setting:
    As far as setting is concerned you need to use the right vocabulary in every single aspect of your writing, whether it be description, narration, or even dialogue. Don't try to use words that are too creepy or the reader is going to catch on fast and not feel a thing.

    Foreshadowing of coming events:

    Foreshadowing events is when you slip in little clues as to what's going to happen later on in the story. For instance, if at the beginning of your story you mention a pond where someone was bitten in half by a crocodile and then later on in your story you have your character go swimming in that pond... guess what? The reader is going to be afraid for your character because they know there's a crocodile in that pond! Of course, you don't even have to have your character encounter the croc, but maybe make your character think something is swimming after her before she jumps out onto the bank. Or maybe you could have the character barely escape the croc, whatever you want. Anyways the point is, your readers know the pond is dangerous, not because you TOLD them, but because you've shown them earlier on. My example is pretty strong. I did say clues and hints, not right out facts that something is going to happen, but I think you get the picture.

    So remember your SETTING and don't forget to FORESHADOW coming events!

    I suggest you practice these in short fiction and then post your stories up in the critique section so that we can read them and then tell you about anything you might need to work on? Trust me it helps a lot. However, to get that spooky feeling you NEED TO WORK UP TO IT. It won't work in a 1K short story. Maybe in a 10K short story, but I'm not sure if that's long enough either. You should read some dark and or horror fiction and see how they do it. If you would like to read short stories in those categories I suggest anthologies. I have some in digital format , hehe.

    Anyways, hope I helped.
     
  5. LuminousTyto
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    LuminousTyto Senior Member

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    Don't forget the 5 senses. They can all contribute to the setting. Of course, like you said, the cinematography(visual description) is the most important. But I think they all add up, you know?
     
  6. Dryriver
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    Dryriver Senior Member

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    The 5 senses are important. Forgot to point that out... =)
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The thesaurus is not your savior.

    Also, if all the reader sees in their mind is your "cinematography" of scenes, you're not doing enough. You're writing a novel, not directing a film, and you have to understand that the techniques available to you are different. You need to do in a novel what a cinematographer can't. Go into your character's head and show the reader what he's feeling and experiencing, what his reactions are to the external stimuli (the "cinematography") he's presented with. It's not about the scenery, it's about the character.

    Well, Lovecraft should be taken with a grain of salt, IMO, because his prose is so awful. I wouldn't want a beginner to learn the wrong lessons from him. But read Poe, definitely. He was a master of storytelling and a wellspring of creepiness - possibly the best model a "dark" writer could choose.
     
  8. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I don't normally recommend the first author to read, but Stephen King and Dean Kontz are masters of writing dark stories. I recommend reading some of their works, and see the techniques used to bring the feel about, think about them, and adjust them to your writing-as well as Edgar Allen Poe. A tell-tale heart, descent into the maelstrom, and MS in a Bottle are three that come to mind. I'd also read "The Raven" and "The Bells" in his poetry for a feel about how to ensnare a reader into the feel.

    Good luck, and keep working! :)
     
  9. EVernon
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    EVernon New Member

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    Thank you everyone, these are all very helpful replies! Now that you've pointed it out, I think I do need to work on my descriptions. I've read some Poe before, and 1984 as well, so I know the sort of 'feel' I want to portray in my writing already...I just find it difficult to achieve! I thought I might write an entire first draft initially, and then go back and add in extra parts/descriptions to give the book the feel I want... does this seem like a good idea?
     
  10. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Well, that's what most writers generally do, so yes. No one gets it right at the first go ;D. Rather than worry about it, keep moving forward. You can always go back after.
     
  11. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    When I was a teenager, I delved into the depths of Poe and Dostoyevsky and since then, all my writing has a darkness to it. Chicken or the egg, of course, but I feel that some writers have a natural predilection for the macabre.

    I would suggest that instead of trying to achieve a "flavour" of the writing at this point, you concentrate on exploring your own voice fully. The same story can be told in a thousand different ways, and you'll do yourself justice as an artist if you just push yourself to tell the story you want in the best way you can. Once you feel comfortable with your own voice it's easy to experiment with styles.

    ps. Having one's voice doesn't mean not trying to learn various techniques and perfecting your skill. But in my experience, every writer has a unique voice which only "comes out", rather than "get's created", with practice.
     
  12. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Sometimes, also, the dark feel of your story can come from the character's actions. My sequel is much darker in tone due to how the MC's acting and saying. Sometimes that too can help in a more simplistic way.
     

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