Refreshing Repetitive Scenes: A Novelist's Strategy for Reader Engagement

Lessons from Writing Multiple Soul Trials in Horror Fiction
Refreshing Repetitive Scenes: A Novelist's Strategy for Reader Engagement

Writing method: Long hand

Word count: 1201

Keith's Audio Commentary (Click email to listen)

Modified Transcript

Writing Session Overview

Today's July 9th 2024 and I just finished a four hour writing session.

It took a while because today was handwriting again and I'm always a little bit intimidated by the handwriting because it just it just takes longer.

but I wrote today's chapter pretty efficiently and pretty smoothly.

Change in Perspective

I knew I wanted to start with a change of perspective because this is one of the final soul trials and even I was getting a little bit getting a little bit bored with writing the same format of soul trials.

Explanation of Soul Trials

If you're not familiar with these soul trials these are conventions and Gates of Okinawa where basically it's kind of mysterious but essentially it boils down to a character has to face a critical moment from their past and they're already dead but they're in this state called the slightsoul state.

if they pass the trial first they have to choose to take the trial but if they pass then their spirit their soul is allowed to live on if not it's what I call scraped and they're essentially dead they're completely dead.

So there's a chance that they might survive in a different form that's essentially what the soul trial is.

Previous Soul Trials and Horror Elements

I've done two of these sequences in earlier in the book and they display probably some of the clearest horror in the book.

It is a supernatural horror novel.

The supernatural is present throughout with the demons and with the special powers and things like that but the horror aspect is this is this gets to directly this is gore horror.

There's a convention in these in these scenes where the slightsoul they only have access to certain senses so it might be touch it might be just taste that type of thing.

I can't remember what I did it's been a couple of weeks now since I wrote the first two ones but this one today is equally pretty harsh and pretty brutal.

Character Focus: Hiroshi

Here we've got Hiroshi undergoing this this trial.

But what's interesting about Hiroshi's character is that he almost died earlier in the book but he survives and then now here he is getting towards the ends he doesn't make it and now he's in this situation.

New Perspective: Anma

My line is I wanted to change it up so I decided to make it from the perspective of Anma who at this point is still a pretty mysterious character.

He is the one that is subjecting the students to these soul trials but in this one you get I'm not gonna spoil exactly what happens but you get the sense that it's it's not he's not just doing this for fun there's a reason why he's doing this and it's complicated.

so I wanted to it gives me a chance to flesh out his character and to show to show the soul trial from a different vantage point.

Writing Technique: Changing Point of View

I like doing this in my fiction and I think this is a good in general technique to use for any story it's just changing up the point of view.

just by doing that it provides you as the author a challenge of okay I've got to present the same thing but just from a different vantage point but then it also gives the reader a breath of fresh air like we're not just going to see the same thing that we've seen.

This would have been the third soul trial explanation that are kind of similar for a reason that I get into in this chapter that I explain because they have to be for certain reasons but then it it's just it's good for everybody to change it up and it certainly helps with the writing of it.

Writing Process Challenges

So it took a while because I had to write and then of course the transcription my handwriting it just it gets worse and worse with age and so just reading my own handwriting and going back and then I'm working on my my laptop which I rarely use so everything's just slower.

But I'm happy with the way it turns out.

Chapter Outcome and Future Plans

We get the sequence through the soul trial explanation and then it ends on a pretty big plot reveal.

And then the next chapter tomorrow's chapter will be very plot heavy where we've got a we've got a lot of loose ends to tie up that the reader probably suspected by now.

Foreshadowing Technique

I've thrown a few clues in there I've gotten better at foreshadowing because that's one of the things that you don't the way I do it is I don't premeditate my stories I just kind of make up stuff and then I will go back in and add the clues that led up to the revelation that's easiest way for me to do it.

But this is such a big reveal and I've had this planned for good halfway through the book that yeah I knew it was going to go down this way and so yeah I had already planned on it so it was time to bring it together.

And then tomorrow's chapter will be a pretty big reveal so that was it for today's chapter.

Additional Writing Projects

Let's see what else today I did a long no I won't talk about that here.

If you want to read more about how I pitched one of my previous novels to to a Japanese store over here I think that's pretty pretty interesting entry that I wrote in my personal journal which I'm gonna if it's not already available my website to make it available and you can read that.

Because I think it's a good just glimpse into what happens when you become pretty good at a second language and the real what happens sometimes especially when you're trying to step out of into places that foreigners normally don't tread like I am.

That's it for this one.

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