Thursday, December 27, 2012

Know Your Place

I started reading Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin. Right off the bat, I'm immersed in Small Lumber Town Mississippi climate and culture. Excellent stuff. Muggy, buggy heat. Afternoon storms. Chicken coops and the smells that go with them. All the meat I crave from my books.

All the meat my current WIP lacks.

The trick, of course, is to know your place. The author obviously knows Mississippi. He couldn't put that much detail into describing a place he's never been. Half the fun of this story for me is the description. The sensory details as I experience a place I've never been. 

Once again, I must admit I don't know the places I'm writing about. Or the people. I'm working on a scene where three strangers make an entrance and join the storyline. I have to name them, describe them, give them personalities - you know, bring them to life. I don't know if they'll stick around for one chapter or become integral to the plot, but, either way, they're here now and they should bring something interesting to the mix.

I don't remember having trouble with this in my first two books. Now, though, I resist the idea of bringing in anybody new. What if I get angry comments if I kill one of them?

TT: I am never going to live Gowan down, btw. He was a red shirt, people! Get over it!

That's the problem. I've gotten too serious. Too much is riding on this being a great book. I'd settle for it being a finished book.

Descriptive words about places I've never been and people I've never met. Sensory details that make a made-up world live and breathe and sweat and bleed. That's the impossible goal. That's the windmill I've chosen to fight.

Yee haw.

Happy Thursday, dear readers. 

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