As writers we create reality. If you don’t believe me, then welcome to the wonderful world of writing. I don’t have enough time in this post to break out the science, but let’s sum it up so we can move on. Perception is reality. Reality is literally made up by the building blocks of your own imagination and the raw data that your senses feed your brain.
Reality is relative—or I should say, relatively based off of our perception of it. And our perception of reality is formed by what our senses tell us is real; the education we’re brought up with, our passions (both love and hate), all the data we receive, and how we process it into the space around us. These are the most valuable tools we as writers have. Understanding how to use these perception molding tools will make us better storytellers; the worlds we create becoming truly real in the minds of those experiencing it.
We give people what they want and need the most—outside of love, food, and companionship; although, the companionship part is up for up for debate. What we give people are new realities to experience. We give them vacations, adventures, and moments. Best of all, we give them a safe place to escape into—even if the place they desire to escape to is a world of horror, dark science fiction, mystery, or fantasy.
Dreaming up a story idea is only a fraction of the craft of creating a story. Molding the idea you dreamed up, into a believable literary work—a living, breathing, magical portal into another world—is a process to be taken seriously. We are, after all, literary architects.
Here’s 5 Tips For Renovating, Flipping And Reintroducing Written Realities
1 Discover What Moves You
I’ve mentioned this many times, but for different reasons. This time I mean it quite literally. What moves you to feel joy, peace, excitement, fear, hate, embarrassment, longing, desire, emptiness, loneliness, hopelessness, love or lust?
Think about each of these and write down the sounds, aromas, food and drinks, textures, places, and objects that stir up each of these emotions.
Here’s a few from my own list of emotions and things that stir them.
|Fear||Broken Locks /||Lack of security.|
|Peace||Coffee / Books / Silence / Harmonies||Just things that have always brought me peace. Warm silence, like in summer or in winter under a blanket with a book and coffee.|
|Loneliness||Grey / Maze / Silence||Maze: Always walking and never finding a way out.|
|Joy||Laughter / Melons / Frozen Grapes||Eating watermelon with my Dad when I was young. Frozen grapes and melon chunks on hot summer days.|
|Embarrassment||Naked / Forgetting||Shorts coming off in pool and lake and others seeing me naked.|
|Disgust||Food Grease / Aroma of Body Odor||Seeing cook at fast food put gross stuff in peoples hamburgers. Scraping thick grease from oven, range hood, deep fryer.|
|Anger||Tomatoes / Children w/snotty faces||I was punished as a boy by being made to eat tomatoes. Parents neglecting their own children.|
|Freedom||Ocean / Blue / Sushi / Short stories & Poetry||I grew up around the ocean. She is like a mother to me; and mother that I could always count on being there. Blue reminds me of the ocean water, and also the ocean sky.|
|Claustrophobic||Crowds / White / Disorder / Dirty||I can’t think when things are dirty; when there’s trash piles, and also when I’m blind in the day and can see that there’s no foreseeable boundaries. When there’s so many people I can’t see what’s happening about me.|
Your character’s yard tells a lot about them. You think I’m kidding, but you’d be surprised by how the details of a well kept or under kept yard can help solidify the reality you’re trying make authentic. I like to look sites like this landscaping site I found, check out the innovative and creative ways people invest into their yards. Of course, there are also many character types that could not afford great yard maintenance, and other who do not care about the state of their yard of what anyone else thinks, either.
3 Ideas From Painting Projects
Sometimes your work is really good, but when you read it, you get the feeling that something isn’t quite right. What is it exactly? You’re not sure. Something about it just doesn’t feel quite authentic enough to believe—like those crappy films you paid to see recently.
Maybe your world doesn’t need a complete overhaul; maybe your world needs a paint job. Sound silly? Try it. See how different colors can change your emotional connections; get ideas from places like http://airdriepaintanddecor.com and Lowes. Look at photos of trending in-house paint projects, especially before and after photos. Now figure out what locations in the world around you makes you feel as those certain colors do.
- Are happy moments (reuniting lovers, marriage proposals, birthday celebrations etc.,) happening in places that are either too dark.
- Are dark moments, or terrifying events taking place at times when those kind of events never happen?
- Is your psychological thriller trying to give birth to its climactic scene in the middle of the day, at a busy park, or in some place that doesn’t inspire any kind of suspense? Well it can work, you’re just making it really hard on yourself.
Red, yellow, gold, silver, green, blue, pink, purple, white, gray, black, brown, teal, maroon, periwinkle. How do these colors make you feel? Use them in your world, associating them with the emotions that they stir up.
4 Born Again Basements
Sometimes the scene doesn’t connect because the room doesn’t make any sense. Think about where your character is (if it’s not there own place) and who or what normally occupies the space. I’m a writer so I require an office, a desk, computer, research tools—things that make sense for me to have.
Maybe you need to do a bit more than painting. Maybe adding furniture, getting rid of furniture; adding items: dry bar, cigar humidor, book shelves, flat screen TV, pool table, medieval torture antiques collection, etc. It’s about making a place reflect the character of the one who occupies it. Sometimes it only takes a little cosmetic changes like I found in some of the basement renovations at http://empirerenos.ca ; other times it’s bigger things that need to be better thought through.
- Is your junkie living in a multi-million dollar home or driving a Porsche? He shouldn’t be.
- Is protagonist whose suffering OCD unable to find her car keys when the intruder breaks into her house? She’s OCD—she’s that last person who’d misplace anything; especially when it’s that important.
- Your gadget geek doesn’t have a big screen—or better yet, his wifi doesn’t work? Really? Do you even know any gadget geeks? They may run out of enough groceries to cook a full meal, but they’d starve before they’d allow their wifi connection to break down.
5 Look At Flipped Houses
Have you ever got in one of those home-makeover-nonstop-Hulu binges? Yes you have—it’s just me here—you can be honest. I consider myself quite a manly-man, and I have even been sucked-in by its mysterious tractor beam. Why? Why—if you’re like me and don’t even like thinking about home renovations—do we get so fascinated with those shows? I think part of it has to do with amazing transformations that occur.
Shows like ‘Flip This House,’ ‘House Hunters,’ and ‘Fixer Upper,’ show us the magic that can be re-discovered upon an already existing foundation and framework. Buildings that almost no one would be interested in are stripped out and turned into dream homes.
Sometimes your story’s framework (or the bones) are completely useable; however, the problem is that there’s cracks in the walls, the plumbing or electricity doesn’t work, the house is dated or not up to code. It’d be safer if no one ever entered your story—with all the problems it has—if you had you never written it. But you are a writer, or aspiring to be one, and that means you must write.
Instead of tossing your story, why not flip it.
- Break it down completely, back to its original idea or concept.
- Brain storm with your original idea
- Ask a lot of new “What If” & “Why” questions.
- Make sure everything makes sense.
- Remember that your final story is a product of many re-writes.
Make Them Believers
If you are going to write a story, do it right. If you put all the elements in the right places and ask yourself along the way, “Does this make sense?” you’ll find capture a greater audience. If you read it aloud when you finish each chapter to make certain that it flows off your lips smoothly it’ll be easier to read. And if your characters, places, interactions, occupations, timings, and seasons are written well and connected with the right associated emotions in mind, you’ll discover a new world of literary breath that will breathe the life needed to set your realities free and make your stories come to life.
There are lessons all around us, in everyday life, that can teach us a lot about become better writers, if we can make ourselves stop pay attention to what is really occupying the space around us.
Cheers to you, writers!
Keep writing and submitting.