Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday's Writing Tip - Writing ABC - Setting #MFRWauthor #writing

Last week we looked at how Plot and Characters work together. Now comes what was a problem for me when I began to write - Setting. The first comment I received on my first manuscript went like this "Your characters exist in a vacuum." The editor kindly went to point and make suggestions in several scenes where showing the setting could have helped. I took those suggestions and when I re-wrote the book, I made sure to have settings. There were other editorial suggestions and other rejections but I finally published that book.

Back to setting. The settings of a book can do many things. Sometimes they are like a character in some ways. Settings can help show a character's reactions and actions. Settings can show the tone of a story drama, comedy or something between. Settings can show atmosphere either by nature of by contrast. Showing a house that's old and falling down can add to the atmosphere of the story by nature. Think ghosts and eerie events. Or by contrast show hope , history and many, many things.

I write a lot of fantasy stories and have used settings found in books of pictures. In an Egyptian alternate world trilogy, I've taken some of the ancient artifacts and changed them slightly. Even in modern stories the setting has helped the story flow. Showing a taste of a hospital room, a village group of homes. All these will bring the setting into the story and to the characters' lives.

So when revising, check to make sure you're using setting in the best possible way. When I'm doing revisions, I have one draft where I just look at setting and make sure it's clear. Thanks to that editor of many many years ago I've learned not to allow my characters to exist in a vacuum.

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