Writers Tricks of the Trade Volume 7, Issue 4 Winter 2018 - Page 33

BRINGING CARDBOARD SCENES TO LIFE

MORGAN ST . JAMES
There is nothing more boring to read than a scene with no oomph . Can you feel the surroundings , does your heartbeat skip right along with that of the victim or the woman in love ? Or have you created a set of paper dolls in a cardboard house ?
Still , the cover is what communicates the wonders that are sandwiched between the front and back . Providing a concise synopsis and some physical descriptions help the artist to communicate with the reader .
The cover is a big help in setting the scene . For example , if it ’ s a funny book , does the cover say funny , or does it portray something entirely different ? Although big name authors ’ books will sell on the strength of their name alone , a compelling cover is invaluable for mid and small list authors .
THINK OF IT AS “ FRAMING ” A MENTAL PICTURE
IF YOU CAN ’ T FEEL THE SCENE , IT ’ S A SURE BET THAT YOUR READERS CAN ’ T .
SO , WHAT TO DO ?
Start with thinking about the cover . Authors don ’ t have a lot of control over this aspect of a published book , because it ’ s in the hands of the publisher and / or art director .
It certainly doesn ’ t stop at the cover . When creating scenes , frame a mental picture that includes surroundings , how the person sees it from their own point of view , mental reactions , weather , clothing … anything that helps flesh out the scene as though you are the production designer for a movie . That doesn ’ t mean to describe everything in minute detail , but put yourself in that person ’ s head . Picture being in those surroundings before writing .
IF THE SCENE IS MEANT TO EVOKE TRUE EMOTION , DOES IT ?
Cardboard scenes almost read like technical manuals in a way . In other words they are generally incapable of touching the reader ’ s emotions . On the other hand , scenes that spring to life can trigger laughter , tears , excitement … whatever the scene was designed to do .
When I was writing some scenes in my book “ Betrayed ” even though I knew the story , I found tears trickling down my cheeks as I wrote some of the intense scenes . I could feel my surrounding as surely as if I actually was the protagonist in Chicago in 1956 . My publisher at the time also referred to tearfully reading parts of the manuscript .
BEYOND SURROUNDINGS THAT CAN BE FELT , MAKE SURE DIMENSIONAL PEOPLE POPULATE YOUR WORLD OF FICTION .
When I was an interior designer working with model homes , I created fictional families to live in these homes , so I could design to their demographics . They had the attributes of the profile buyer the developer described and targeted , but they had also had their own quirks , desires , preferences and style . Maybe the husband was an avid golfer and the wife participated in charity work . The son I
WRITERS ’ TRICKS OF THE TRADE
PAGE 25
WINTER 2018
BRINGING CARDBOARD SCENES TO LIFE M ORGAN S T . J AMES There is nothing more boring to read than a scene with no oomph. Can you feel the surround- ings, does your heartbeat skip right along with that of the victim or the woman in love? Or have you created a set of paper dolls in a cardboard house? I F YOU CAN ’ T FEEL THE SCENE , IT ’ S A SURE BET THAT YOUR READERS CAN ’ T . S O , WHAT TO DO ? Start with thinking about the cover. Authors don’t have a lot of control over this aspect of a published book, be- cause it’s in the hands of the publisher and/or art director. Still, the the wonders cover that are sandwiched between the front and Still, the cover is what communicates back. Providing a concise synopsis and some physical descriptions help the artist to communicate with the reader. The cover is a big help in setting the scene. For example, if it’s a funny book, does the cover say funny, or does it portray something entirely different? Although big name authors’ books will sell on the strength of their name alone, a compelling cover is invalua ȁ͵Ёѡ̸)P!%9,=%PLpI5%9t59Q0A% QUI)%Ёх䁑ͻeЁѽЁѡٕȸ]ɕѥ͍̰ɅхɔѡЁ)Ց́ɽչ̰܁ѡͽ͕́ЁɽѡȁݸЁ٥ܰхɕѥ̰ݕѠ)ȰѡѡѡЁ́͠Ёѡ͍́ѡ՝ԁɔѡɽՍѥͥȁȁ)٥QЁͻeЁѼ͍ɥٕѡєхЁЁ͕ѡЁͽe)Aɔѡ͔ɽչ́ɔɥѥ)$Q!M 9%L59PQ<Y=-QIU5=Q%=8=L%P) ɑɐ͍́ЁɕѕՅ́݅丁%ѡȁݽɑ́ѡ䁅ɔɅ)ѽՍѡɕˊéѥ̸=ѡѡȁ͍́ѡЁɥѼɥ)ȁ՝ѕȰѕ̰፥ѕӊݡѕٕȁѡ͍݅́ͥѼ)]$݅́ɥѥͽ͍́䁉q Ʌ啓tٕѡ՝$܁ѡѽ䰁$չ)ѕ́ɥݸ䁍́́$ɽєͽѡѕ̸͔͍$ձɽչ)ɕ䁅́$Յ݅́ѡɽхЁ ظ5Չ͡ȁЁѡѥͼɕɕ)Ѽѕəձɕ́ѡ͍ɥи)e=9MUII=U9%9LQ!P 8 1P5-MUI%59M%=90A=A1A=AU1Qe=UH]=I1)=% Q%=8)]$݅́ѕɥȁͥȁݽɭݥѠ̰$ɕѕѥ́Ѽٔ)ѡ͔̰ͼ$ձͥѼѡȁɅ̸Q䁡ѡɥѕ́ѡɽ)ѡٕȁ͍ɥхɝѕЁѡ䁡ͼѡȁݸեɭ̰ͥɕ̰ɕɕ)屔5剔ѡ͉݅́٥ȁѡݥѥѕɥݽɬQͽ$)\I%QILdPI% -L=Q!PI)@)\%9QH