Tag Archives: Storytelling

Things with Wings. The Detail that Makes Your Writing Fly. #MFRWAuthor #IAN1

Grabbing a reader’s attention is all about hooking her emotionally. Prying beneath the surface as she scurries along from sentence to sentence and page to page. Hitting her where she truly lives – in her heart.

We do that first and foremost by creating a main character about whom the reader not only cares but cares very much. So much so that she begins to behave as if this character were a real-life human being.

Red Jeep 1The reader roots for your character to succeed and dreads that she may not. When such rooting and dreading happens your reader is engaged on an emotional level with your story and that engagement keeps her eagerly turning pages all the way to The End.

Meanwhile, beyond this deftly drawn main character, lies another engaging element of great storytelling. An element that compels your reader to stop short for an instant in her pell-mell plunge through your plot to be hooked yet again by the Deeply Felt Detail.

This detail draws your reader to a particular moment in your story and holds her there to experience a flash of connection. She recognizes the essence of what you have written. She responds at an emotional level even if she doesn’t consciously understand why.

You’ve caught your reader on the hook of your deeply felt detail. But first you must experience that detail even more deeply yourself. Where do you find such resonance – moments, sights, objects, whatever they may be? You find them among your own deeply felt attachments.

For example, I feel such attachment to my red Jeep Wrangler. When I think about that vehicle my heart flies to a fond place, soft and warm and sentimental. Or it can fly more frantically to a place of terror. The difference depends on the circumstances of the scene.

Fond and tender if that scene is of my grandchildren filling the backseat with cookie crumbs and squabbling between bites. Frantic and fearful if that scene involves a wrong turn of the steering wheel that could send us hurtling to disaster.

I drive my red Wrangler onto the page and make my story fly straight into my reader’s psyche and most especially into her heart. I do that by revving my writer engine to the max on every drop of drama fuel this detail holds for me personally. I give it storytelling wings.

I possess a lifetime’s worth of emotionally potent details – moments, sights, objects, whatever they may be. You do also. Think back. Feel deeply. Engage your heart and your nerve endings in the search. Make a list. Then use those details in your writing and watch your stories soar.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com/

– R|R

A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Romantic Suspense Book 4 and my other books are available from Amazon HEREA Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 is a FREE EBOOK  there also.

http://facebook.com/aliceorrwriter/

http://twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks/

http://goodreads.com/aliceorr/

http://pinterest.com/aliceorrwriter/

Life is a Blizzard Where I Come From

Me in My SnowsuitWhen I was a little girl I thought everybody lived in blizzard country like I did. I thought every child wore a snowsuit for nearly half of the year. This is me in my snowsuit in a few old photographs.

That was life growing up in the North Country. Blizzards and snowsuits. Sleds and ice skates. Double-knit mittens and hats created on Grandma’s needles. The memories of those years are sharp and reside in all of my senses.

I see the snowbank so high in front of our house that there was a photo of me standing on top of it grasping a power line. We’d had a power outage of course. Wires were down somewhere nearby – snapped by heavy ice.

Outages happened often in winter but we were cozy at 439 East Avenue because we had a coal furnace fed by my father from a bin in the basement. I feel the rush of heat when he opened the cast iron door and threw coal into the fiery center.

I hear the chuck of his shovel pushing into the bin and the whoosh of release when he let the load fly into the flames. I smell it too – the not unpleasant char that scratched my throat just a little until the furnace door was closed and latched again.

The most vivid flavor of my blizzard season memories comes from outside the house – the snow I ate despite my mother’s claim I’d contract a terrible disease with a long name I’ve forgotten. I taste the strangely satisfying hint of brackishness as snow crystals melted on my tongue.

Memories urge me to give them life on the page. Tire chains clanging down a quiet street at night. Young ears pressed to morning radios for school closure bulletins after a four-foot overnight snowfall – as a white wonderland waits to be explored and enjoyed.

I offer a glimpse of North Country winter in  A Vacancy at the Inn – Book 4 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series. There’s a blizzard near the end but this is a novella and an intense personal situation. Not much page space remains for weather in detail.

Or maybe I held back. Cherishing the magic of my private memory winters in a silence as deep as the silence of a snowscape after a storm. Still I sense a Riverton Road story in my future – and I hope in yours as its reader – where life is a blizzard big time.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

A Wrong Way Home – Book 1 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. All of my books are available at my Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/.

 

Free Sample of a Free Book – Riverton Road Monday

Free - Image 1A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1

Prologue

 Anthony Benton

Anthony Benton wasn’t in the habit of walking across the lawn to his condo complex, especially not on a miserable night like this one. He valued his Bruno Magli’s too much for that. What if somebody saw him slipping and scrambling through wet leaves like a snake in the grass?

Good thing nobody important enough to care about would be out here in this damned weather. It was supposed to be spring, but you’d never guess that in this godforsaken place.

Spindly young trees whipped in the wind as far as their short trunks would bend while Anthony counted the weeks backward in his mind – one, two, three, four, a month. This crap had only been going on for a month. Aggravation made it feel a lot longer.

He woke up each morning with anger churning inside him. He could barely remember when he didn’t have to think about things like whether taking the straight route across the lawn was safer than the longer way around the curved sidewalk.

How could he have ended up in such a humiliating position? Scurrying from his car to his house like a scared animal. He’d worked too hard making himself into Anthony Benton for this to be happening. Worst of all, there was nowhere in this jerkwater town he could turn for help.

What was he supposed to say? “My dim bulb ex-wife is persecuting me?”  He’d be the butt of jokes from every hayseed in the county. Too many people envied him, and most of them were dim bulbs too. He’d have to put up with their sneers or be roasted all the more. That’s how it was in a place like Riverton.

The damp mist had turned into steady drizzle. Anthony cursed under his breath and walked faster. He’d left his umbrella in the car. A month ago he would never have made that miscal­culation.

He’d have had a plan all laid out in his mind with each step thought through and not a single flaw in the thinking. He’d have grabbed the umbrella from under the driver’s seat and had it at the ready in the outside pocket of his briefcase.

He’d parked under those dripping trees tonight because the walkway to the complex was only a few yards across the macadam from there. He’d done that because of her, to cut down on the chance she’d catch up to him between the car and the building, the way she did two nights ago.

She’d shouted and sniveled and grabbed at his clothes. He was sure some of his neighbors must have witnessed the scene from their windows. She’d made threats, too, said she’d get a gun and come after him.

He’d itched to pick her up and throw her as hard as he could onto the pavement right then. He was plenty strong enough to do that. He’d picked her up and thrown her before, but that was in private. If he laid a hand on her in public and somebody saw it, he’d be the one in trouble.

That’s how it went these days with bitches like her. They’d whine about being victims and everybody was on their side. But he knew what to do about that. When payback time came for all of this, he intended his revenge to be very sweet, with an extra measure of punishment for the soggy leaves on his car. And he’d make sure payback time came soon.

The wind picked up in a chill, wet blast down Anthony’s neck. He didn’t have a raincoat any more than he had an umbrella. He hunched as far as he could into his saturated shirt collar. Payback was on its way for this, too. He’d make her regret every discomfort he’d suffered because of her. He’d commit himself a thousand percent to that happening.

She whined about how unhappy he’d made her in the past. Those days would feel like a kindergarten picnic compared to what was coming in return for these past four weeks. With tonight at the top of his list of reasons for making her sorrier than she ever thought she could be.

He hated her so much it almost warmed him up on this frigid night. He hated her so much he’d love to choke her dead with his bare hands, squeeze harder and harder till he felt her bones snap under his fingers.

As soon as he could figure out a way to kill her, he’d do it, not with his own hands because he’d be too likely to get caught. He’d have her killed without a second thought or a single regret. He knew guys who’d do that for a price, one guy in particular.

The bitch deserved it, but that pleasure would have to wait. Right now all he wanted was to get out of this rain and into the classy condo he loved almost as much as he loved his car.

Anthony flashed on an image of Victoria opening the door the way she liked to do every now and then, wearing nothing but the fur coat he bought her last Christmas. She wasn’t anything like his ex-wife.

Victoria was the kind of woman who knew how to make a man feel good. He almost smiled. Maybe it was the vision of Victoria slowly opening the coat for him that caused Anthony to relax his cautiousness for just an instant.

Or, maybe he was forced to pay too close attention to his footing. The harsh Northern New York State winter, the first since this condo complex was com­pleted, had already heaved some flagstones out of line with the others, making for treacherous walking in the cold April rain.

Whatever the distraction may have been, Anthony didn’t hear the footsteps behind him or sense the jagged rock lifted above his head as he finally reached the top of the stairwell leading down to the basement service door that was the building entrance closest to the parking area.

He did have time to feel the edge of sharp pain and hear a voice echo out of long-ago memory. It was his mother calling to him, though she’d been dead a dozen years.

“Be careful, Tonio!  Don’t fall!”

Then everything went black and silent for Tonio Bento, aka Anthony Benton, and would remain that way forever.

RR

 A Wrong Way Home – the eBook – is FREE at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T9RVGGC. Also at Barnes & Noble and iBooks and KOBO. This is my 12th novel and I’m thrilled to make a gift of it to you. Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com.