I had a great time at my 4th residency at Seton Hill University for the MA in Writing Popular Fiction. As always, the sheer energy generated by a group of individuals solely focused on writing is amazing. There are so many fantastic conversations at all hours with people from all walks of life. Unfortunately, it means that most of us don’t get much sleep because the atmosphere is highly addictive.
In the past week, I’ve learned about plotting, point of view, working through the middle of a novel, how to better write the mood and atmosphere in horror, and how horror as a genre has evolved. Once I’m actually home, I think I will post overall information from all the notes I took and set up the links for all the workshops.
The atmosphere in horror module was absolutely fantastic. The class was taught by Dr. Michael Arnzen and began with a little bit of mood music. We analyzed the music and the frequency selections and did our best as a class to figure out what gave that music the horror element. At the end of the class we went to the chapel and spent some time getting a spiritual feel for the area. This really came out with the ghost tour of Seton Hill University that one of the other students narrated. Once the sun set, the whole atmosphere of everything changed. The graveyard with sporadic fireflies, the moonlight barely visible through extensive stained-glass patterns, the dark steam tunnels and malfunctioning elevator. All of it really helped to bring out those elements not related to sight that we as authors really ought to spend more time on. I read so many works these days that are solely visual based. Using the other senses can really add texture and depth. What does the rain sound like? How do the steam pipes smell? What does the brick feel like? Does the air after a thunderstorm have a flavor?
This is all just the tip of the writing iceberg. I’m now inspired to go work on the massive revisions Accept Fire and Blood requires.