Today I am visiting two bloggers:
Sarah Foster - Interview with a Witch
Lidy Wilks - Evolution of a Story
An alley is the main setting for my newest short story, Ghost of Death. Allies have actually been used quite a few times in several of my other unpublished stories. I like the darkness, mystery, and creepiness of alleys, which makes them good scenes for thrillers.
If you ever write about an alley, focus on the five senses:
Sight – This is the most important sense when it comes to alleys (or any location, really), so readers can imagine it clearly. What does your character see? Potholes full of filthy water, trash from fast-food wrappers to soiled diapers, flattened cardboard boxes and piles of wood often litter allies. Also, is there a Dumpster spilling over with waste or fire escapes? Is the alley deserted or occupied with homeless people, drug addicts, or a hungry dog? Let your imagination run wild and use vivid descriptions to paint a good (but dirty) image of an alley.
TIP: Dumpster is capitalized because it is a trademark. I learned that last year.
Smell – This is the next most important sense as alleys are usually reeking with several nasty smells. Let your character get assaulted by the scents of the alley such as rotting trash, feline as well as human urine, gasoline, and even vomit. It may not be pleasant to think about, but it sure will add something to the scene.
|Image from Pixabay|
Sound – Alleys can be quiet. They can also echo the sounds of the street: sirens, the rumble of vehicles, and the beep of garbage trucks. People could be fighting in the alley, filling it with the grunts and thuds of fists colliding into bodies. If it’s a stormy night, the crack of thunder and the drip of rainfall will drown out any other noises.
Feel – In Ghost of Death, my MC steps back into a puddle and cold, slimy water bathes her feet. Does your character pick something up or touch something? Describe the feel of it in his or her hands. You can also consider other factors of this sense such as whether it’s cold and how the ice nips at your characters skin, or how sweat slithers down his/her back from the heat.
Taste – I would not advise having your character(s) eat anything in an alley (unless your character is homeless and desperate for food), but sometimes smells can settle on our tonges. Or maybe your character gets attacked and blood fills his/her mouth with a metallic taste.
QUESTIONS: Have any of your characters found themselves in an alley? Have you read a book with an alley as a setting?