Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Tuesday's Writer's Tip - The Where of Your Story #MFRWAuthor #BWLAuthor #Writing #Where #Scenery

Where does your book take place and how does this influence the story? Think about settings and how a change in the setting can change a book.

Whn I first began writing and sent off my first manuscript, it came back with a note from an editor. "Your characters exist in a vacuum." She was kind enough to take the time to show me how to put the scenery in and also to show how the characters interact with the setting and how the setting could effect the story.

What the where includes is the world of your story. Even if you’re writing a contemporary, you must build the world your characters are living in. Is it a city, a small town, a rural area. Each of these places had a different effect on the story. Are there mountains, forests, the beach, the ocean, a lake, or a river. These are included in the where. These things may be specific to the place your story takes place whether in the past, the present or the future, or a world existing only in your mind.

When developing the where in your story follow from the large to the small. The small where includes places where the characters exist and interact. For some of my contemporary books I have books of house plans and ones of apartment plans. I also hit the internet for thoughts on furnishings.

If you’re using an outdoor scene, such as a forest or a garden. Find one thing that stands out and make that the character’s focus on the scene. I’ve used places I’ve been such as a museum or amusement park, just using a bit of this as a hook to pull the reader and the characters into the scene.

So make a list of the various places in your story. When writing one of my series, a contemporary one, I used a hospital I was familiar with for a number of the scenes. I did a little moving around, including moving the hospital I really knew to another site because I wanted the cemetery across the street. I also often use a town where I live but I make changes like a city planner when I want to rearrange the location of houses or shops.

So make your list and fill it in as best as you can from the start. You will make changes as you go along but having the basic ideas and focusing on one or two more aspects you will bring the setting to life.

After you have your list then think about the characters in this setting. How do they react to what's around them. One character may be observent and another only skin the surface. There are things to avoid when placing your setting. 

I'm sure you're read books where the writer goes on and on and on about the setting. There can be paragraphs and even pages of description. The trick to keeping your reader interested is to bring the setting in by showing the character reacting to the setting. Another is to choose a feature or two that give meaning to the story and the characters. If you put your characters in a cave, show them relating to the darkness, even to the claustrophobia. Make the setting perform more than one thing in your story. Use dialogue, action and reaction as well as description.

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