Jillian’s Writing Tip
I’m Jillian Chantal and I’m super excited to be here to share one of my writing tips. It may be one you’ve heard before and it probably is pretty basic but I think it helps me make my writing more realistic. I hope it offers something useful.
Grab a notepad, an iPad or even your phone with a note app. I hope you have one in your purse or backpack or pocket. If you’re a writer, you should always have something to jot things on.
Since we’re in the throes of NaNoWriMo and I know some of you snack while you write or go to restaurants or Starbucks to get your word count in, this tip may be something you can do right this instant. Lift your head. Sniff the air. Look around. See that menu or that bar list? Pick it up and scan through it.
Now, pull out that note-taking device I referred to in paragraph two above. Write down three things you smell- - like the woman at the next table’s way too strong perfume or the garlic on the bread that just came from the oven and was carried past your table or even the peanuts on the floor if you’re at one of those places.
Glance at the bar list again. Pick a drink for your character to enjoy. Write down the ingredients and if they don’t already have a cute name for it, make up one. This can be your character’s signature drink- - even if it’s a big ole glass of sweet tea (remember to describe the pucker inducing sweetness if that tea is as sweet as my mother-in-law used to make). If your character is a beer drinker, write about the smell of the hops, the foam on his lips, the darkness of the brew, etc.
Now, for the food menu, do the same thing. If that roast chicken is made with a honey barbeque sauce, describe the smoky smell from the kitchen and then the sweetness of the sauce. Maybe your character’s fingers get sticky and he touches his phone screen and makes messy prints all over it. Maybe he needs to lick that sauce. Does he do so in a sexy way or does he smack and appear sloppy? Did he spill a bit of sauce on his white shirt? Is he embarrassed or does he shrug it off?
I hope you’re noticing the people sitting around you, too. Some of them can be used as secondary characters. What about that man over there with the toupee that doesn’t fit well? Is he a traveling salesman or is he a serial killer needing a nosh before his next kill? Maybe he’s a secret shopper testing the restaurant’s quality or a secret admirer of your main character or maybe he’s even a secret agent. Is he talking too loud? Is he creepy-looking or mild-mannered? Did he yell at the waitress and call attention to himself?
How is the restaurant itself? Are the curtains green? Is the sun shining in on your eyes through the blinds? Does the place sound like a cafeteria or is it quiet and dignified?
So, my tip is obviously to use what’s around you in your stories and don’t forget the smells, sounds, tastes, and all those little details that add realism to your stories.
Thanks to J Rose for letting me pop in!
Happy NaNo writing to all who are endeavoring to complete that mad trip. Come hang out over there and we’ll cheer each other on. My NaNo ID is sfcatty.
By Jillian Chantal:
Olga Quinn hopes her relocation to London to work on their space shuttle program is the life changing move she needs after the loss of her co-worker in a workplace explosion. She meets Gabriel Swicord, a former fireman turned celebrity radio personality and deejay. He lost his sight while rescuing a family in the line of duty and has immersed himself in music and work since then. For a few days, Olga and Gabe burn hot for each other and then things turn cold.
Someone is murdering women who patronize the club where Gabe spins records. It appears that he's the connection to the dead women and his name and face are plastered all over the news. Things are not looking good for Olga's peaceful new life and when the killers turn kidnappers, things really begin to heat up.
About the Author:
Jillian Chantal is the pen name of a writer living on the beautiful gulf coast of Florida where she enjoys spending time with family, friends and her tuxedo cat. She likes to say he’s always dressed in formal wear in case she needs an escort. She loves to hear from readers at http://www.jillianchantal.com