Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Tuesday's Inspiration -John D MacDonald - Environment #amwriting #amlearning
This quote really hit me since settings and creating the environment of a story is one place where I can go wrong. Sometimes I put in too much and sometimes too little. Mr. MacDonald put it all in caps. Makes is easy to remember but hard to accomplish. Does this hint resonate with you? No caps but it's advice to remember.
"And when the environment is less real, the people you put into that environment become less believable and less interesting."
How true this is. Years ago, when I began writing, I sent my first mss out again and again. Each time the story came back with comments from an editor. One of these comments struck me. "Your characters are operating in a vacuum." So I went back and rewrote the story describing where the characters were placed in great detail. The first attempt said things like she got into the car. The second went on to describe the car in living detail. The response I received went sort of like this. "You're bogging me down in details. This slows the story." So I went back and tried to figure where I went wrong each time.
What happens when you make the environment right means giving the reader enough detail for them to fill in the rest in their imagination. Every reader will see the environment a bit differently but they will be drawn into the story because you've engaged him or her. The characters in your story real to the reader. This is description at its best. Specific detail that allows the reader to invest their imagination in the story.
What about you, do you create a generic environment, or do you pile on detail after detail until the reader is bogged down? Do you strive to find the right way and pull the reader's imagination into becoming an equal partner with you?