I wanted to wait until most people had a chance to read Darkness Divides before posting this. It’s a video of the same plane (Casa-212) and type of parachute Melena used in the book. The main difference being this takes place at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina during the daytime (plus the troops are using proper military procedures instead of Mel’s improvising). You can see how Melena would have strapped her pack to the front of her similar to the way they do. These troops are probably carrying upwards of 100 pounds on them, which makes it rather awkward to walk.
I’ve actually jumped on the same drop zone this video shows about a dozen times, often using that plane, so I did draw heavily from those experiences for the novel. Hopefully this gives you a better idea for what it would feel like to do it.
Direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAwIzpHfOaY
One of the hardest parts of writing Darkness Haunts has been the dark and emotional scenes. I had no idea how much it would take out of me when I first plotted the story out.
In this first book of the Sensor Series, there are are several scenes that have required me to dig deep within myself so I could put to words what I saw in my head. Not only that, but I wanted to make sure the reader would be able to feel as if they were experiencing the moment with my character. It has required me to revise and edit these parts over and over until just the right words were put together for maximum impact. Even now, I’m looking over the scenes again for what must be the dozenth time and tweaking them some more. Every time I go through , I find ways to make them even more vivid and powerful.
Poor Melena really gets put through the ringer in this novel. You’d think I enjoyed torturing her, but there really were some things she had to go through in order to grow and become what she needed to be for future novels in the series. She doesn’t start off weak, don’t get me wrong, but in the beginning she isn’t fully prepared for dealing with the supernatural world. She has some knowledge and experience, but not enough to fully navigate it once she is in deep. Her resistance to letting anyone help her causes her to get into some very difficult situations. She’ll get out of them, but not without painful consequences.
It is in those consequences that I have had to write the most difficult parts. As the author, I have to fully imagine what it would be like for a person to go through such gut-wrenching events. They aren’t exactly situations I’ve been through myself. At least, not on the level she faces them. Some are emotional, but others are physical. She has to fight not only for her survival, but also for a friend she is trying to save. It means putting herself in the line of danger and learning who she can trust. For her, none of this is easy.
You may be wondering what these things are I speak of, but of course I can’t really say (no matter how much I want to) because it would spoil the book for you. Just suffice it to say that this novel is no fairy-tale. It’ll have a satisfying ending, but not before you get taken on a rough ride.
<— Yep, I like dark and mysterious photos. This one looked like it needed to be posted. Now, on to the main subject.
I think every writer has a different way of handling backstories for their characters. In the beginning, I kept those data sheets many writing guides recommend using. They are good for you to list basic details of each individual, but it’s easy to fill up the page as more information comes out in the story.
As the novel progressed, that wasn’t enough. Several of my characters had long histories in my head and I wanted to write them down so no important details were lost. This was also important because the plots for future novels were developing in my mind and I needed to set them up. Basically, little hints were dropped in Darkness Haunts giving an idea for what might come to pass (or already had) for certain characters. It’s not meant to be a complete picture, but enough to get the readers wanting to know more. Further details of character backgrounds will be revealed over the course of the series and sometimes their past will return to haunt them. What series doesn’t have this happen? It won’t be too cliché, though. I promise to make it fun.
At this time, I have the plot written for book two, a solid idea of book three, and a vague idea for book four. It’s entirely possible a fifth book could be conceptualized, but I’m waiting to see how things go. There is already a lot of material to work with, so I’m sure ideas won’t run out too soon. It’s not uncommon for many writers to not know exactly how far they plan to go before stopping. I do like staying in one world so I can continue to build my characters and add new dimensions to them. That the story doesn’t have to be confined to one book, though I may try and write a stand-alone someday.