Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Elements of the Novel - Eileen Charbonneau - Settings

In the chapter I read today from Eileen, she's talking about Setting. Now if there's ever something I need to pay attention to, this is one area of writing where I tend to fall down. Action, dialogue and other elements are ones I usually have little problem with. I once had an editor reject a story of mine and her one comment was "Good story but the characters operate in a vacuum." Not a thing a writer wants to hear. So I set out to remedy this and failed in a different way. Each scene in the work began with a long description of the setting. This was boring. I'll admit that I haven't yet conquored the setting part of writing a story. I'm not sure why.

In Elements of the Novel, Eileen has given a very on point bit of advice. I'm going to try it to see if I can make my characters operate not in a vacuum or in a cluttered place but in a way that gives the reader a way to be in the settig with the characters.

"Setting is vital." This isn't what I learned but it's a reminder to keep the characters in a setting rather than in a vacuum.

"Place is sensory." Now this is where I usually fall down. Eileen recommends having the characters react by using one of the senses to bring the setting to life. Actually she suggests at least twice in each scene. This will bring the setting to life and can also be used to bring the characters to life as well.

Somehow this makes sense to me and I'm going to try it as I do the final revision of my curre WIP. How about you are your settings almost absent in your stories? Are your places cluttered with dozens of details that really don't have a purpose other than to put your characters in a place?

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