Writing The Cinematic Novel: Texture, Color, And Angles
Want to write a story that readers can’t put down? Want to have your reader’s on the edge of their seats, anticipating your next release? Want to give them something they crave? Something they can’t get enough of? Immersion. That’s the word you’re looking for. It’s what every reader wants and what every writer aspires to provide.
So, how do we do it? How do we create a story so appealing that the reader loses himself or herself in it? The answer is simple: We have to add visual elements to our scenes which feel real. My last article in this series spoke about setting up your opening image. The one before that talked about writing the imperfect hero. This time, I will discuss how to add immersive elements into your scenes.
Texture-The Sensory Details You Can’t Leave Out
Adding texture into a story is all about the small details we take for granted. Don’t tell your reader that your protagonist is in a dark alley at midnight. Make them feel where your character is. Is the darkness encompassing? Foreboding? What does the air smell like? Maybe it just rained. How do your character’s sneakers sound on the pavement? Is it cold out? Warm? Humid?
These details aren’t an info dump. They’re immersive. Pepper in those details and allow your reader to feel the scene, rather than telling them about it. Once you describe the outside, then you can begin adding texture to your character’s in the moment. Maybe his skin is prickling in anticipation. Perhaps her senses are on high alert, making her vision tunnel or the surrounding sounds louder.
We exist in a physical world. Your scenes should reflect this.
Color-The Psychological Layer You Haven’t Thought Of
Whether or not we realize it, color plays a HUGE role in how we experience the world around us. Different colors can have a strong symbolic meaning and psychological effect. Think of the last horror movie you saw. The director most likely used color (or the lack of it) to generate tension. In action movies, color stands out, even more, creating drama and movement.
We have to think about these things when writing. Let’s go back to that alley. We already discussed the possibility of darkness. What other colors are present? Is it a brick alleyway? How does the reddish-brown of the brick contrast with what your character is wearing? Is she standing against the brick? Where is the light in this scene? What shadows does it cast? What is visible? What isn’t?
Writing a few sentences about these things tinges your scene for your reader and has a powerfully emotive effect. You can also use color as a motif or to add strong symbolism to an object.
Angles-What It’s All About
As a writer, it is difficult to think about angles. We take them for granted. We may think peripherally about how our characters are standing, but we don’t assign it great importance unless he/she is about to do something. This is an enormous mistake on our parts.
Positioning adds in foreshadowing, psychological elements, and a deeper, more immersive experience for our readers. There is a huge difference if your character is standing braced against the brick in the alley or if he/she is crouched in a corner, blending into the shadows. Maybe someone else showed up. Are they taller? Do they look down their noses at your character? Maybe your character is positioned above, taking in the coming and going of this person.
A scene from above indicates a level of confidence or arrogance. A scene looking up from below indicates fear, anxiety, weakness, etc. It’s important to think about these things when writing out a scene. Aside from adding depth, it can also help clarify things for readers.
Now that you know how to use texture, color, and angles in your writing, be sure to share some scenes for us! Do you have any awesome ideas on how to enhance a scene? Let us know!