Going 3D With Your Fiction
Immersive fiction creates captivated readers, and captivated readers will always come back for more. Remember that critics, judges, and reviewers are all just readers too, so if you can pull them into a beautifully crafted, immersive world with you, then you’re one step closer to reaching the accolades that will help your books sell.
Think back to your favorite books as a child. Childhood is a time when we are both highly imaginative and highly distractible, so for a book to really captivate us at that age, it has to be immersive. What are the qualities that you still remember to this day about those seminal books that you read when you were little? For me, it’s a vivid world that I can step into with characters who were real enough to step off the page and continue into my imagination. Let’s look at how we can incorporate this into our writing:
I am a filmic writer. When I picture a scene from one of my stories in my head, it’s like I’m the cameraman, panning around to capture each shot, each detail, and each moment, however insignificant it may seem. I live at the center of that scene, and I decide which parts to record so as to shape the atmosphere of the scene I’m trying to capture. This, I believe, is what gives my writing its 3D immersive quality. It’s a bit like cinematography for books!
For example, in a horror story set in a kitchen, it might not do me any good to describe the pretty floral pattern on the tiles of the splash-back. But the constant, echoing drip of the faucet, the gleam of a knife laid out on the countertop, and the jagged shadow of a tree branch at the window may well increase the sense of tension my characters are feeling without me having to explicitly say so in the story. These are the things I feel a cameraman would try to foreground in their shots to give added flavor to their scenes, so why not do it in words too? This is a surefire way to pull readers in and obtain a following that will come back begging for more.
We’ll look at the other element of 3D writing, creating real characters, in lesson 7 of the course, but for now here’s something you can try out.
Now It’s Your Turn
Practice on a very, very small piece of your writing. Try to pick a moment, perhaps near the beginning of a chapter or scene, where the main character is not yet engaged in action but is establishing where they are and what they intend to do. Focus on the setting itself, and think realistically about what would be happening in the background there. What elements of this would lend themselves to the atmosphere that you’re trying to create? Construct a single, highly immersive paragraph that paints the scene for your readers.
Tomorrow, we head back to the world of marketing for some insider tips on where great reviews come from. Reviews and star ratings are a huge make-or-break component of online sales, and I’ll be showing you how to get the best ones right from the start.
Till then, mes amis!
An excellent book for sharpening your writing skills comes from the master of atmosphere himself. Enjoy On Writing by Stephen King for some serious further reading.
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