Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Setting the Scene in Novels

As many of you will know I am currently doing NaNoWriMo which is National Novel Writers Month. This involves writing 50,000 words in a month, which sounds hard, but is actually only 1667 words a day. I am currently steaming ahead, writing about 2500 words a day as I am trying to front load. A short break in Edinburgh beckons. I should actually say I was steaming ahead, until I came to a particular scene.

It isn't often I am short of a word or two but in this instance I am struggling. The scene is set in a nightclub and I'm finding difficulty in describing it. No problem I hear you say. Just have a night out and bingo you've got your scene. Great advice, and ordinarily I would take it, but my clubbing day.s are well over.

Ok, how about picturing the last nightclub you went to. Again great advice, but I am sure nightclubs have changed a lot since I last spent both time and money in one. What to do?

Fortunately I come form a very large family which contains it's fair share of youngsters. I also have a lot of friends who are of clubbing age who I am sure will be happy to give me advice on what happens in 21st Century Clubs. That coupled with a thorough internet search should have me well on my way to an action packed and authentic scene. Sorted.

My question to my writer friends is how do you deal with scenes of which you have no knowledge? My request to everyone: If you have the skinny on nightclubs please pass it on in the comments. 

The picture is of City Square, Dundee. Just another small glimpse of the beautiful city where DI Shona McKenzie catches the bad guys. That's all for Bookaholics this week. See you all soon after another reading frenzie.


12 comments:

  1. Firstly, the last time I went to a nightclub it was called a disco and culture club were in the charts...so sorry it looks like I will be no help on that score! Praise God for young friends and family.

    Secondly, I know what you mean about writing something you have not experienced, I am writing a series of short stories based on Bible characters at the moment. Obviously no-one I know (except Jesus) was around in Bible times so I can't ask them. I am having to rely on Bible study notes, history books, and so on. The Bible itself doesn't give much background to stories such as what the character is seeing, smelling or touching. It doesn't tell me how the houses were furnished or what people wore.
    All the best with your scene and with NaNoWriMo. I signed up but then haven't been well so have not done much. Also although I have a full length novel in my head it is the short stories that are screaming to come out at the moment.

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    1. Thanks Lynda. I can understand your quandary. I wouldn't even know where to start. I know art galleries are an interpretation but there are a lot of biblical scenes and may give you inspiration.

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    2. Good idea. And many of the paintings will be on the internet somewhere too! :-)

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  2. Just shut your eyes and let your imagination run riot. I use a lap dancing club in two of my books and I've never been in a lap dancing club in my life. and nobody's complained yet!

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    1. Thanks Chris. That is really helpful

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  3. Well, the obvious solution (to me anyway) is to take an hour of your evening and visit a nightclub. I understand that it may be a bit uncomfortable for the 'current' Wendy, but there really is no substitution for firsthand research. That's what I would do. Granted, the current version of me would hate every minute of it (and I spent 10 of my youthful years as a bartender!). If you're worried about it being a moral issue, just remember that Jesus went in among publicans and sinners. If you do decide to go, just remember to take your note pad!

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    1. Thanks Tony. It's not a moral issue. I see no problem with nightclubs, they are just not my favourite place to spend an evening. It may come down to that though

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  4. I wing it. :-D

    So in your situation, I'd just write a night club that works for my story and move on. It's far more important for me that the scene helps my story along than worrying about being slavishly true to the real thing.

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    1. Thanks for the advice Misha. Very helpful.

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  5. Here's another idea that just came to me. Try searching YouTube for "nightclub" or other such keywords. Maybe you'll find some videos that will give you a feel for current trends.

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  6. I agree with Misha, Wendy. I'm doing Nano too (my 8th attempt - I've won it 6 times) and there's no time for niceties like this during November. To boost your word count (and make yourself feel better), you can describe it any way you like - use as many words as you can possibly think of - I don't care if it looks like a Martian retreat rather than a club - you can change it in December! But anything that moves that word count up (accurate or not) is useful. Looking so forward to visiting you here on your blog on Friday!

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