Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wednesday Writings: Setting

Setting: the time and place your story takes place.

Maybe your setting looks like this:

Perhaps your setting looks like this:

Either way, your setting is special. (Well, you can have WAY more settings than just those two, but I'm sticking with the basics.) Without a well-detailed, clearly-visualized setting, your story will fail. Worse than that, it'll crash and burn like those movie-style car crashes.

Tips on strengthening your setting:

1. Don't forget to sneak in a few details in the beginning. For example:
Suzy woke up with a start. Around her, everything was normal: her alarm clock stood innocently on the nightstand beside her bed; the desk was still littered with scraps of paper and broken ink pens. The clothes on the floor remained untouched. But then she realized what was missing: the walls of her bedroom...

2. Every now and then, introduce a new place, or something out of ordinary, that causes the character to notice and comment. Perhaps your character wandered away from home and found a new dimension. What is different about this dimension? What does your character find so strange about it?

3. Add in details about culture and the layout of your town/city/rural village/etc. Don't make it obvious; rather, subtly hint at it. If you slip in some cultural reference, don't immediately explain to your reader exactly what you mean. Perhaps your cityperson needs direction to a new shop or club; have them ask for directions, and the person s/he asks elaborates a little.

4. Well... most of my advice is to SUBTLY DESCRIBE THE IMPORTANT BITS. If your setting takes place in some obscure Scottish village during the late 1600s, don't make your dialogue sound sound like a modern American teenager. Perhaps add some real Scottish slang in there from that time period. And for sanity's sake, don't over-describe your person's village. You don't need to know the names of the flowers your MC walks by, or the exact temperature otside in degrees Celsius (I'm doubting they used Celsis at that point. Note: When were thermometers and degrees Celsius first used?)

I hate to cut my 8-point list down to 4, but I don't really have anything else to tell you. Only you can uniqely describe your setting. You either over-do it or under-do it, and balancing it out is up to you. It makes the difference between "meh" and "OH-MY-CHOCOLATE-THAT-WAS-AMAZING". No pressre or anything.

Have a wonderful Wednesday and continue writing! ;D

"Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian mst also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car." -Garrison Keillor

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