Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Writing ABC - S is for Setting #MFRWauthor #writing

S is for setting. After I submitted my first novel to an editor, I received this comment, "Your characters are operating in a vacuum." The kind editor went on to explain about setting. She also took a small passage of my mss and showed me an example of using setting. I was really happy and went on to put elements of the setting in every scene in the story. I sent the story out again. There were other comments from other editors and finally I had a mss. But that was in the days when not everyone thought they could write a story and become published. Editors wanted full mss and they often read parts and made comments. This was better than any class I ever attended. But back to my original thought. S is for Setting.

Setting is made up of many things but is designed to show where and when the characters exist. The setting can be sued to show time of day. The morning sun... Season of the year. Snow fell in swirls... Or the season. Children searched the lawn for those illusive eggs. This is one part of setting.

Showing where the characters live  or work is another part of using the setting. How many people have been in a bakery. Most of us have at least been present in a home bakers. Using the sense of smell and even taste can evoke that bakery. The senses play an important part in the setting of a story.

So when you're placing your characters in somewhere, remember to use all the senses and especially more than just sight to bring the setting to life, making the scenery almost another character in the story.


Margaret Fieland said...

Janet, great post. I've written four sci fi novels, and in this context letting the reader be able to picture the setting is particularly important.

When I was writing the first one, I discovered GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program, freeware with many of the features of photoshop) and started "drawing" alien landscapes with it in order to help me picture them. GNU proved to be fairly addictive, and I now have a *large* collection of pictures that I've drawn using the program {grin}.

Janet Walters said...

Thanks for visiting. I like your suggestion of the program and may give it a whirl. Since I write fantasy, my old issues of Archeology are a great help for designing places. Plus I have books about castles.

D.K. Davis said...

Janet, found your post interesting, insightful, and helpful. I also would like to try out Margaret's suggested GIMP.