Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Writing Tip Tuesday

Here's a little writing mistake that I find is easy to make:

Forgetting about the setting.

Sometimes I lay out the setting at the beginning of the book. I throw in all those great details to show the reader where we are...

...and then I amble along (or ramble along) with the story and forget to remind the reader about the setting - to toss in more sensory details so the reader can still see where she is.

So - don't forget to remind the reader about the setting.

It doesn't have to be anything major.

One little sentence.

One little phrase.

Just enough to keep the reader grounded in the place and time.

For example:

I just finished writing a scene that takes place in the main character's bedroom.

The reason he is in the bedroom, instead of being outside where he really wants to be, is because it is raining.

And not just rain, but a thunderstorm.

But I got all caught up in action of the scene in the bedroom...

...and I forgot that it was storming outside.

When I went back and added the rain pattering against the window and the thunder rumbling in the distance - the whole scene came alive and reconnected with the previous scene in the story.

So - don't get so caught up in the action of the story that you forget about the setting.

1 comment:

Kerry Madden said...

Thanks for your wonderful blog, Barbara...and for your sweet words on the review. I so appreciate it. This what Eudora Welty says about setting and I always quote at least the very first line...did you smack that kid who made the Hawthorne comment? You look young and beautiful and certainly not a contemporary of Nathaniel. Here is what Eudora wrote:

“Place is one of the lesser angels that watch over the racing hand of fiction, perhaps the one that gazes benignly enough from off to one side, while others, like character, plot, symbolic meaning, and so on, are doing a good deal of wingbeating about her chair, and feeling, who in my eyes carries the crown, soars highest of them all and rightly relegates place into the shade. Nevertheless, it is this lowlier angel that concerns us here...