Using Life to Create Fiction

It’s been a wild couple of weeks. With all that’s happening in the “real world,” I’ve had a difficult time concentrating on the characters tiptoeing through my imagination. But as things calmed down to a dull roar last week, I watched a scene unfold with the twins as they discovered a hidden cavern.

In this scene, I drew on several life experiences that I’ve had over the years and created a composite backdrop.

As a kid, I loved to climb. Fences, walls, trees, I scaled them all. I got into more trouble as a child, it’s no surprise when my offspring tell me stories of themselves at the same age. I shake my head as I facepalm. When I was in the high school science club, we had a spelunking outing at a local cave. I had fun, and never forgot the experience, but didn’t pursue it as a hobby. A few years ago, Best Riding Friend, First Reader, and I visited Mesa Verde and toured the Balcony House cliff dwelling. Neither BRF nor FR is good with heights, which gave me feedback for writing.

Suffice it to say that while I’ve never scaled an almost sheer cliff, I have climbed rocks and too many trees to count. I crawled through a natural cave system enough to know what to expect in the earth’s bowels. And I’ve seen for myself what natural defenses some people will use to protect themselves.

Even though I “finished” writing the inciting incident of my project, I find myself adding “the feels” to the narrative. It’s easy to describe what the characters see. But how dry or damp is the air on the skin? What smells are present? Are those smells so strong they can taste them? Is sound muffled, or do echoes resonate through the area? The hardest part of writing for me is remembering to add the visceral feelings, not just what the characters see as they traverse the landscape.

I’m still working on where the various characters will land as they learn what happened to the twins. I already know where some of them have ended up. I just need to decide whether they can find a return to their home plane. On the other hand, I’m sure that at least one of them will prefer their new environs.

For now, I have more ideas to inject into the stories. I’ve left clues to their whereabouts, now I just need to make sure those clues are discovered.

I have more writing to do.

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