What is it about the night that awakens our imagination and gets our heart racing? There are all kinds of answers to that question. For me, it’s the secrecy. What exactly are the shadows hiding? What is cloaked by the black that the light of day would reveal?

I’ll be the first admit I have an overactive imagination.I don’t watch horror movies because I remember every detail of the monsters and the evil that reigned. When the lights go out, I don’t need those images adding to the ones I’m already conjuring. I close every closet door and tuck away every stray piece of clothing on the floor, lest they hide a villain or become some malevolent entity in the wee hours of the night. Problems loom so much larger when they pull me from sleep. Sounds magnify and become telltale signs of a malicious presence seeking to harm me. I try to be logical about this whole thing. But there’s something about all those shifting shadows that completely crosses my wires and I can’t seem to pull myself together.

I’ve always been this way. And no matter how old I get, I can’t convince myself that the night isn’t a scary place. But the cool thing is, I use this in my writing.

I tap into that fear when I’m writing suspense scenes in my books. I pull up the feelings and my physical reactions and hopefully translate that on the page. One of the other things I’ve learned through the years is to make the setting another character within a story. Humanizing the character’s surroundings adds a dimension to writing that brings a reader deeper into a story.

So what about you? Have you ever noticed when an author manages to make the setting a larger part of the story? Another villain that wreaks havok and causes conflict?

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