I am guest blogging today on the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). I used this post, “Know Your Audience!”, on a friend’s site in June. If you didn’t catch it then, check it out now!
If you were anywhere near the path of the eclipse yesterday, I hope the weather and your circumstances allowed you to enjoy it. I wasn’t in the path of totality, so all I experienced as a slight darkening and cooling, like on an overcast day. The most notable difference were the crickets chirping like it was evening in the middle of the afternoon.
Eclipse for Crime Fiction
If I was using the eclipse for a setting, it would have to be a backdrop for something momentous. It’s too unusual an event for just mundane occurrences. A murder can take place, or the revelation and capture of a master criminal.
Speaking of crime, my husband noticed something at a business meeting yesterday. The meeting was held at a building with security at the entrance. The building emptied for people to view the eclipse at its height. Then everyone reentered the building. So many people came in at once that the security guards didn’t bother to check I.D.’s.
With that in mind, in a crime story, an employee can smuggle in accomplices when the crowds return to a busy office building after viewing the total or near-total eclipse. Then they commit their crime later in the day. Or have a crime planned for site in the path of totality when the criminals know employees will be outside for several minutes.
Eclipse for Speculative Fiction
Researching the myths surrounding eclipses might provide fertile ground for a story. The site timeanddate.com list many of them. Interestingly, most ancient cultures describe the eclipse in terms of some creature eating the sun.
I could write a story about a certain group of people whose special powers only work when they stand within the path of a total eclipse. They spend their lives traveling the world, from eclipse to eclipse, so they can use their powers, some for evil, some for good.
Or a villain is going to unleash some horrible power but can only accomplish it in the path of totality and if the eclipse is visible to him. The heroes know this. The day of the eclipse, the heroes and the villains watch the weather and race up and down the path trying to get into the perfect position.
I like the idea of this story a lot because I could work in the specific date and real locations that were in the path of totality. It would give a veneer of realism to a fantastic story. I also like the idea of the chase, and the characters racing around in numerous vehicles as the villain hunts for the right weather and the heroes hunt of the villain.
What ideas do you have for using the eclipse as a setting?
With everyone’s eyes on the skies in North America today, I thought the spark should be sci fi. How about a heart-warming robot and his dog story?
Share if your inspired!
I’m sorry it’s been so long since I posted in this category. My time got away from me this summer and I have just now found it. Since Easter, I’ve been reading the Psalms and Proverbs. I like the structure of the Psalms. The verses are usually a kind of couplet in which the same thing is described two different ways.
“Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon whither, like green plants they will soon die.”
I’m not sure where I read it, but a writer pointed out that because of this structure, the Psalms translate into any language. Its poetry isn’t dependent on rhyme.
Proverbs also uses this dual structure. Sometimes it does it the same way as the Psalms, such as in Chapter 17:17:
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
But many of the Proverbs are couplets that demonstrate an opposite.
“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
“The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yield folly.”
My favorite chapter in Proverbs is Chapter 30, “the Sayings of Agur”. It uses a structure only found in this chapter.
“There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, ‘Enough!’: the grave, the barren womb, land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!'”
“There are three thing that are stately in their stride, four that move with stately bearing: a lion, mighty among beasts, who retreats from nothing,; a strutting rooster, a he-goat, and king secure against revolt.”
I like how these list are constructed and would love to be able to write some with modern meanings. Now that I’ve found my time, maybe I will do that.
Here are some of my favorite verses from the Psalms:
“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.
“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, your ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.” I like this verse because it is the first line of a hymn I grew up with.
Psalm 133:1, 3:
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” “It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion, for there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”
“I lift my eyes to the hill — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” I like this verse because I love mountains.
Although I am a history major, I have never felt inspired to write historical fiction. If you are interested in that kind of fiction, learning how to conduct research is critical. I know several authors who write historical fiction and their sites have many articles giving advice on research.
Cindy Thomson writes books the Ellis Island series and two books set in ancient Ireland. She is also a professional genealogist.
Sandra Merville Hart has written two books set during the battle of Gettysburg.
Tamera Lynn Kraft had set Resurrection of Hope in 1920 America, Alice’s Notion’s during World War II, and A Christmas Promise in a Moravian settlement in Ohio, 1773.
At writer’s meeting I went to, Sandra gave advice on how to kickstart your novel if it stalls in the middle. One idea was to go back to your research notes. Whether you have researched languages, locations, or legends for your writing, keeping your notes organized and available will help you find your creative spark when you need it.