Building Tension with Subtlety: Order of Reveal Matters

I’ve seen this done in different ways, so this is only one example. A loved one of a main character is missing. Sometimes a photo is displayed in their home and later the missing character shows up in a different place. At other times, the order is flipped. We see (or read about) a character and then discover they are missing after the fact. I personally feel the image first followed by the reveal of where the person is may be more effective, especially if the missing character is not the main character.

When I’m shown the photo in a film, I should be able to sense how the main character feels about that person. Then, when the missing character shows up, I already have an attachment to them on some level.

This is easier to do visually, I suspect, than via text in a book but either medium can use this order of reveal.

It has been done a lot, yet it still seems effective enough to be a good tool.

Dig Deep

As a kid, I had a hideous nightmare. Evil incarnate was walking down the hall to my bedroom and I was frozen in fear, unable to move. The creeping dread was so bad, it still counts as one of the worst nightmares of my life. When the evil appeared, it was one of the weirdest red devil creatures I’d ever imagined. It was also wearing sagging baggy pantyhose – horrific, at the time.

Still troubled by it the next day, I described the creepy thing in saggy pantyhose and asked my sister, “What do you think it means?”

With a smirk, she replied, “Satan has skinny legs?”

I nearly laughed myself sick and the haunting dread that had lingered was destroyed for good.

Sometimes I strive to remember it, though. How it felt to be trapped, in terror, not even knowing what the threat was as the dread and horror climbed higher. Capturing that as a writer and trying to induce it in readers is a challenge and a thrill.

Write what you know can include dreams, too. Use everything – dig deep.

The Publishing Option Dilemma

I wanted to be traditionally published and worked for it and courted it for years. They said they didn’t want to work with me because I didn’t have an agent. Once I got an agent, nothing changed, beyond it being two of us getting ignored. The real game seemed to be who do you know. So I self-published. I try to learn the craft as much as I can and write well. I’m still working and still learning.

In the meantime, a traditional publisher (Vintage Books, a division of Random House) put out Fifty Shades of Grey, a writer’s and certainly an editor’s nightmare, and that made me lose faith in the idea that they were the gatekeepers of quality fiction.

These days, small press and self-publish outfits are releasing a lot more quality and less bad drivel than they were over a decade ago.

The lure of traditional publishing is still there for me, but they’ve tarnished their reputation some with their own badly written drivel these days, in my view. I hope to go with a small press next time. If not, self-publish is still there, and I demand high quality writing of myself, so I know it will be the best book I can release. 
Yet, learning the craft of writing well should never stop. I love finding new things to learn to improve.

Grimmie got a makeover, including a new chapter!

As a Grammar Nerd and OCPD neat freak, I couldn’t stand it – I went and edited out every typo I ever found (hopefully I got them all). My husband, author/creator Kevin A. Ranson spruced up the spine and back cover, and helped me with the formatting of the interior file. It looks amazing!

Also, since it was once going to be split into two books, I wrote a new chapter to close out “book one”. I never ended up splitting this behemoth of a book, but I loved the new chapter so much, I included it in this new version. It’s short, but a great addition to the story.

For those who already purchased a trade paperback copy of Grimmie, if you see me at a convention with new copies, bring your former one to show me, and you can get a new copy at a deep discount. The e-book version also has the new edits and new chapter in it, and you can even get an autograph for e-books now. (Details are on the Grimmie page here.)

Grimmie gets a book trailer!

My new book trailer for Grimmie is out!

Kevin A. Ranson is a genius! My thanks to our wonderful actors, too:

Chris Aquino was my first pick for Corwin Grimm, a.k.a. Grimmie, and I was delighted when Melissa Tobin agreed to be Mary. Heath Ray made a great Louis and helped us get Johnny Hereford and James Trumble to play Louis’s buddies.

Kevin did the original music, created the special effects, and built the trailer from the ground up. I’m just in love with it!

Texas Frightmare Weekend was awesome, as usual!

I can highly recommend the Texas Frightmare Weekend convention in Dallas, Texas to all horror and genre fans, and especially to those who love autograph hunting and amazing shopping in two huge dealer rooms. This is primarily a horror media convention, so I haven’t seen many authors represented, but the celebrity panels are excellent and the film screenings are worth a watch at all hours, too. In addition, the staff was helpful and friendly, and the lines were organized to keep moving and were managed very well. The Hyatt Regency at the airport was a great venue with sufficient food available; the only drawback was having no walk-to-the-corner places to try as well. There is a plan afoot to for next year to see if we can walk to the airport complex and access the restaurants there. The object is to leave the car in the great parking space we nabbed at the hotel. Over all, this is an A+ convention!