story process #3

Today I'm debating setting, which must set readers in space and time, but can also do double duty to set mood. This is a dark story, so it's a no-brainer is to make a lot of the story happen in dark places. The opening lines already establishes mood (I think--tell me if I can do better!):
Kaelin Trevet always felt the urge to walk softly in Lord Warrick Oman’s house. Oppressive quiet filled the cold hallways. Shadows leapt from every corner.
But I can do more than that, and I have to look for opportunities to give more information about the character. Beyond keeping the characters from floating in space, setting is great for revealing character. We're looking at Kaelin's world through his eyes, after all.

But, when Kaelin enters Mosaic for the first time, he's seeing it through different eyes. I think a brief memory here indicates some previous change. I'm also trying hard to use just a few words to show his internal struggle. He's been to hell and back, and now he's just stepped back through the rabbit hole.

Walking into the Mosaic Nightclub in London, he wondered why he'd never realized how the strobe lights reinforced the damage done to him. With every flash, another image of torn flesh passed before his retinas.

I want this moment infused with memory. It heightens tension and lets the reader know exactly where we are. But, short stories are short, so I must focus on a detail or two. Most readers have been to a nightclub or seen one on TV; I just need something to ping their memory.

And, at the point of revelation, I'll probably have something change in the background. Maybe the strobes stop, or the house lights come up (too obvious?) or they escape outside into fresh air. Just talking about it here, I envision a scene in the middle in which they do just that--fresh air and revelations and then a reversal in which they're dragged back into hell.

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