Thursday, January 24, 2013

Power your writing project – by Rita Karnopp


     There are so many things we can do to power our writing projects.  What do I mean by that . . . well it’s a method I use to charge my senses in the genre’ I’m writing.
     Take for instance when writing an Indian historical I make sure I listen to Native flutes and Native music.  I watch movies that take place in the 1800s.  I read books that are Native in nature; both fiction and non-fiction.  I even burn sage or other scents of the time period.  If I’m writing about being out on the trail, I’ve been known to munch on jerky!
      So why do I create such an atmosphere while I’m writing?  It’s a mood . . . an ambiance that makes me think, feel, hear, see, smell, and even taste the time I’m writing about.  You’ve often heard that when you write you should be aware of the five sense (smell, taste, hear, feel, and see).  I actually believe there are seven senses – think is that 7th one.
      If you surround yourself with the feeling for the time-frame you’re writing, you’re most like going to remember those seven senses – and believe me when I get a whiff of sage or the sound of the flue permeates my thoughts, it forces me . . . no it reminds me to include them into my book.
     Now I’m working on my Holocaust Tango of Death trilogy.  For months I’ve read nothing but documentaries about the Holocaust.  I’ve watched nothing but movies on the Holocaust. I’ve studied the dress-code and mannerisms as well as the language used during the 1940s. It is so easy to slip and write with modern slang.  If I’m studying the 1940s I know I have a better chance of writing the 1940s.  If nothing else, it reminds me to stay true to the genre and timeframe I’m writing.
     In Partisan Heart, Book two of my Tango of Death trilogy, I wrote; “You are nothing short of Cinderella,” he said.  She glanced at him and smiled. “I’m surprised you even know that American fable.”
     That night when I went to bed it hit me like a blast of cold air; was Cinderella an American fable and was it even written in the 1940s?  Good thing I asked myself that question.  What I found out is; "Cinderella", or "The Little Glass Slipper", (French: Cendrillon, ou La petite Pantoufle de Verre, Italian: Cenerentola, German: Aschenputtel) is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune. The story was first published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697.
     Readers are savvy these days.  We not only need to be cognizant of the genre’ and timeframe we’re writing, but be careful of the information you use or refer to.  All it takes is one slip-up like the Cinderella comment and the reader will stop believing you as a writer and toss the book down.  You certainly don’t want that to happen.
     Stay in your element . . . and surround yourself as much as you can to aid in that endeavor.  One last trick I will share with you.  I create a book board.  In the Holocaust trilogy, I have my six feet by four feet cork board that is covered in pictures of Gypsies, maps of 1943, swastika, picture of Hitler, Gypsy wagons, concentration camps, etc.  At the top are pictures of the three book covers; Gypsy Spirit, Partisan Heart, and Jewish Soul.  They keep me grounded and inspired. 

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