Christopher Kokoski - Dark Halo
• Pub Date: June 29, 2012
• Publisher: BlackWyrm
• Format: Paperback/Ebook, 334 pages
• Age Range: Adult
In a town besieged by shadowy, demonic forces, a father races against time to save his family. Thirty-five-year old Landon Paddock has deserted his wife and daughter, abandoned his business, and secluded himself in his late parent's southern Indiana ranch. But he's barely lapsed into a drunken coma when a mysterious, winged stranger appears during a violent lightning storm, chasing him out into the maddening night with his estranged 15-year old daughter. As layer after layer of reality is dissolved by a series of violent encounters, the only way to survive might be for Landon to band together with the family he destroyed to make one last stand against a sinister army of unthinkable magnitude. Hope, family and redemption lay in the outcome.
Five Sneaky Ways to Infuse Your Story with Emotional Impact
by Christopher Kokoski
Like professional boxers, bestselling novelists deliver a blinding array of emotional punches that leave readers breathless. Predictably, the stories that stay with us, that transform us, apply sophisticated techniques to trigger powerful feeling responses. Here are five of those techniques:
#1. Choose an Emotional Theme: At its core, every story is about the emotional journey of characters. Choosing one fundamental emotion that you want your readers to feel can elevate your story from so-so to unforgettable. Some genres have particular emotions that readers expect. For example, romances have romance and love (or sometimes lust!) Mysteries and thrillers have suspense. Horrors have fear or terror. Fantasy stories might have a sense of wonder, amazement and awe.
Choosing a core emotion for your story focuses every character, every scene, every moment of dialogue and every conflict. In other words, each element of the story is judged on whether or not it helps develop that emotion. An emotional theme simplifies the decision to include or exclude information. If something produces the emotion, keep it in. If not, throw it out or keep it for another story.
#2. Create an Emotional Outline: Just as there is a plot outline that details the physical action and conflicts of the story, most unforgettable stories also have emotional outlines that detail the emotional journey of the characters. Like a plot outline, the emotional outline includes a beginning, middle and end. Each section has its own core emotion. These central feelings in the beginning, middle and end tie together to create the one overall emotion of the story.
For example, in my novel, Dark Halo, the emotional theme is suspense. Each section of my story is also designed to elicit its own particular brand of suspense.
• The beginning is designed to create an interested and anticipatory suspense
• The middle is structured to create a more intense, alarmed suspense
• The end of my story is intended to create an all-out terrified degree of suspense.
#3: Create Emotional Chains: Each feeling is generally a link of several emotions experienced over time. Most people don't jump from perfect calm to extreme excitement. People are more likely to feel interested and curious, followed by engagement that accelerates into captivation.
All three major parts of the story (the beginning, middle and end) can be further divided into a series of scenes, each with its own emotional theme. Each scene is designed to create a specific emotion connected to other scenes and other emotions. Combined, these series of scenes form the emotional thread of that part of the story. Remember that each part of the story blends to create the overarching emotional theme of the entire work.
How can these techniques be helpful?
• Planning your story. As you think about writing your story, you can ask yourself, ”How do I want my readers to feel?”
• Decide on characters and scenes to design for the story. Everything is judged by how well it helps the reader experience the emotions that you want them to feel.
• Write descriptions. What figurative language, analogies and metaphors to use.
• Revision. As you edit your work, you enhance and embellish the emotional experience for the reader.
• Knowing the emotional theme can also help you choose character names, title of the story, setting and also design the cover image of the book.
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Christopher was born in Kansas, the son of an Army Ranger and Black Hawk pilot. He grew up in Kentucky and Germany, and graduated from Murray State University in 2002 with a degree in Organizational Communication. He spent the next three years laboring over his first book, Past Lives, while getting married to his college sweetheart, having a beautiful daughter, and more or less finding his stride in life.
He currently lives in Southern Indiana and works in Louisville, Kentucky as a national trainer. He has presented at local and national conferences on a wide spectrum of topics including communication, body language, cultural sensitivity and influence. Other notable activities include writing articles, short stories, novels and training materials for national and international audiences.
Christopher continues his passion and dedication to writing by working on additional novels, including a sequel to the Past Lives series. His most recent book is the standalone paranormal thriller, Dark Halo.