Lesson 5 -Environment
Sure, it was a difficult but fun task to write dialogue! I sometimes do as I asked you to do the exercise – sit and listen in on people. Interesting conversation, I try to remember to use in my books. Useful, and as a bonus you get to hear some exciting things.
Something else that is important to create life in the story is the environment. For me it often as a separate person with a tone and a voice. The environment is grateful to write, some rough strokes with the brush and a few details suffice for the reader to see it all in front of him. The excitement lesson I mentioned external and internal environment, now I’ll help you pick the environment.
To select the main environmental
Choose an environment you know well. Have you only been in the north once the holiday – choose another location. The reason is that no matter how much research you have done about Norrland feel that way you still not to the environment enough for it to be credible. Where you live, is growing up or may have been much – where do you feel the atmosphere, the people’s mentality, how to talk, how to think. My books takes place therefore,
in Fjällbacka, where I grew up. I moved admittedly thence after graduation but I can still the environment inside and out. Although I live in Stockholm for many years, I would not just be able to write my books with Stockholm as a base.
The environment is not only a place
Weather is a powerful factor in creating atmosphere. Take advantage of it. For example, a sprinkling, gray rain convey a heavy, gloomy atmosphere. Do not use the background as a backdrop, but let it create an atmosphere in the action. The main character can be in despair tilt your head back and feel the rain like tears on your face, the sun can burn onto a bare back digging a grave in the woods and so on.
Use all five senses in your descriptions. The reader can get the smell, hear, feel and taste. “The air brought a metallic taste on the tongue and the nose was filled with a sweet, strange odor.”
Describe instead of talking about what the reader should experience. Instead of talking about it rains, writing that “big wet water drops hit the windshield and got the visibility will slowly disappear.” Describe how the clothes stuck sweaty against the body instead of writing it was a hot day.
Put more information about the place other than the purely technical scenario: history, economics, demography, religion and so on. In my books I mention schartauanismen on a few occasions, and I then explain briefly what the religious orientation meant and why it affected the people of Bohuslän – and therefore my main characters.
A woman returns for the first time in twenty years to the place where she grew up (and it happens to be right where you grew up). Describe the environment and her feelings on at least two sides.
The four last things: Andrew Taylor has a fascinating plot and a superb setting.
Isobel Lambot: How to write crime novels, p 66-77 Sue Grafton: Writing Mysteries, pp 39-49