When creating visual art, the artist utilizes light from around him, from within the painting or sculpture, and as a part of the void where his medium is not. The lighting becomes an integral piece of the final statement and smart artists spend hours ensuring that their work is displayed in the best possible light.
For my research on noir fiction, I watched many “B” movies that practically bashed me in the head with the conscious manipulation of light. Shadows through doorways, light through vertical blinds or screens, and the headshot with light coming from behind were the most cliche. I’m always searching for fresh ways to use light in writing. Throughout my books, I describe light in fresh ways such as the cottonwood tree that’s “a random symphony of strobe lights.”
Yet most often when I bring up this aspect f my work, I’m told that most mystery authors only use light as it pertains to the feasibility of the crime or the witness.
If our work as storytellers is to create vivid images in your mind, seems we should utilize every tool we posesses for mood, for nuance, and even to highlight the voids.
Readers: Do you tend to enjoy sensations of bright, dark, flashing, etc., in your books? What authors do you find engaging the light most effectively?
Writers: How do you use or describe the light? Do you think strong manipulation of light is cliche? is it an important element in your mystery or thriller?