Writing undersea worlds – channel your inner Mermaid
Want to write an undersea story that submerges your readers in a Mermaidian world? Or perhaps you’re an Ariel-wannabe who can’t wait to create the next epic marine adventure?
Either way, dive into your story with confidence using these 5 top techniques for channelling your inner Mermaid:
If you can’t visualise your characters, then how will your readers? Put your comfy pants on, you’re about to be glued to your seat for some serious research time! Think fish. Think deep sea mystery. Search through pictures of marine creatures, watch documentaries about underwater life, mine the likes of Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest for #mermaids and more. The better your understanding of what your character looks like, moves like, how she breathes, eats, communicates and lives, the better your internal image will be and the clearer your written descriptions of her behaviour.
- Discover the world she lives in
Immerse yourself in underwater scenes. Building on your understanding of your character, try to get a fix on what it’s like to live beneath the waves. If you can, dust off the scuba diving equipment or mask and snorkel and revisit the exquisite feeling of actually being there. Otherwise, visit an aquarium, watch videos, talk to people who’ve spent time working under the sea (marine biologists, ichthyologists etc) and get a feel for how the underwater world behaves. Use your senses. What does it smell like, can you taste it? What do you hear under the water? How do you see and communicate? How would the pressure of all that water affect something as simple as body language – a nod, a wave, shaking your head?
- Explore her motivation
We’re all aware of the ‘Hollywood’ mermaid stereotypes, from sucrose long haired beauties to toothy underwater witches. So your job is to come up with something unique. One way to beat the stereotype is to provide your Mermaid with a strong motivation, one the reader will relate to. What does your character need? What is she prepared to do to get it? How will this change her? For example, if your Mermaid needs to find her long lost Mother, how far is she prepared to travel? Who will she betray to get the information she needs? What aspects of her upbringing and which members of her family is she willing to abandon to get her Mother back?
- Activate your character