A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
This week’s topic on Author Allsorts is your favourite character or setting from your books and why. On Monday we answered this for our monthly group post – Ask the Allsorts. My favourite character from DARK DAYS is Sia. She is in an extreme situation in a terrifying world that she can’t escape. She’s confused, frightened, angry, suffering and trying desperately to gain some control in a place where she has none. I really enjoyed exploring all sides of her character. You can see all the other answers by visiting the post – Ask The Allsorts: What or who is your favourite setting or character from your book(s), and why?
Today I’m guest posting about my favourite setting from DARK DAYS.
I thought about a lot of different settings that I’d have liked to talk about, but one in particular stood out to me because of how much I enjoyed writing it. It’s set in complete darkness, so there’s no visual description. I enjoyed it because Sia has to rely on her other senses to see her through. It was interesting to close my eyes and imagine what she’d feel, what she’d smell, what she’d hear. Here’s an excerpt from my current draft of DARK DAYS:
“I’ll go,” I say, eyeing the gap. “I can fit through there.”
“No, Sia, I don’t want you—”
“It’s fine, Mace. Really. I’ll let you in once I’m inside.”
Mace helps push me through the hole and into the house. I suck in a breath when I slice my palm on a sharp piece of glass. I hold it to my chest once I get to my feet. Inside is pitch-dark, not an ounce of light. I can’t see a thing.
I reach my hand back through the gap and Mace passes the crowbar to me. There’s a faint smell of rotting, which I take to be the garbage. Or Mace’s mum. I feel my way through the room until I find the door.
I open it and the smell slams into my face.
It coats my tongue, seeps down my throat, claws its way up my nostrils. It clouds every sense. Takes over so absolutely that I have to fight to stay on my feet.
I’m frozen, blinking in the blackness. I can’t see. I can’t move. I swallow, hard, and choke on the horror. Dead things. Festering, decaying, rotting, in this house. With trembling hands, I feel my way to the front door.
*Note: DARK DAYS is still undergoing the editing process and this is subject to change.
Why not have a go at writing this way yourself? Place your character in a setting of total darkness and see how they deliver that scene to you. I’d love to see some mini examples in the comments if you feel like sharing!
Kate Ormand is a YA writer represented by Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Ltd. DARK DAYS, her YA dystopian debut, will be published with Sky Pony Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, in Spring 2014. Kate also writes children’s picture books as Kate Louise. PIERRE THE FRENCH BULLDOG RECYCLES, illustrated by Bethany Straker, will be published with Sky Pony Press in 2015.