In my graduate cohort we have a visual artist who is a fantastic writer. He paints surreal landscapes with word combinations that describe the indescribable. I asked him what his secret is.
He had one word for it. Contrast.
So much creative writing falls flat due to a simple 'lack there of''. Contrast is so important. Characters going from sad to sadder isn't much of a transition. Let's be honest. Taking a character from ecstatic to miserable is more appealing to the reader.
When you're writing a love story that's all roses and parades its sweetness turns bland as the palate has nothing sour to compare it to. A war story that's all mud, blood, and agony greys out in its hopelessness.
If you're describing piles of dead bodies decaying into yellow sludge for miles it's hard to make it beautiful, but nothing is impossible. Why not have the decaying viscous yellow matter remind the narrator of the vanilla birthday batter his momma used to whip up for him for his favorite cake? She would even let him lick the yellow cake mix straight out of the bowl on his special day. See what i did just there? I made you feel something.
Check out the annual bloom on my Angel Wing Begonia next to Raider Nation Official (with hayseed attached to possible dead body in trunk).
If the moon is hanging in the sky like a crescent crystal ornament before the knife comes down to stab the observer to death you might be more scared. When you kill something weak, frail, and unlikable nobody cares. Killing something full of hope and beauty will never fail to horrify.
Thank you Spiked Lily. Xoxo
Do you have any special techniques? I love comments! Please share yours below.