Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Importance of Setting

Fiction writers sometimes get so wrapped up in plot, characters and theme of a story or novel, they overlook another important part to the puzzle of putting a complete story together. Setting adds to all the other things.

It may seem to be a small part in comparison to the rest, but it's the small things like sensory details and setting that make a good story a great one. The writer needs to give a picture to the reader of the kind of place, the era, the weather and more.Don't write an entire chapter telling the reader all these things. That gets boring in a short time.  Little snippets can be woven into the story so that the reader sees the setting without even realizing it.

The next time you have a rainy day, (I'd be glad to send you one. We've had more than our share lately!) spend a few minutes writing your observations about this kind of weather. Do the same for a cold, snowy day or even one of those glorious blue-sky perfect kind of day. Keep them in a file and when you need to add something of this sort to your story, you've got it. Or at least enough to trigger your thoughts.

Do the same thing when you visit the mountains or the beach or a major metropolitan city. The things you observe on your visit can come in quite handy when you're home at your computer writing fiction.

Or look at buidlings when you travel or even in your own community. How can certain kinds of buildings help in the setting? Are you writing about a place with skyscrapers or old, dilapidated barns? Keep a file of these notes, too.

The next time you read a novel or short story, look for the things that give the setting. Train yourself to watch for it and you'll soon be adding good settings to your own work.

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