Since yesterday I wrote about characterization and drafting, I thought it would segue nicely into writing about the canvas of the story itself — the setting. Setting can be as important as characters, because it provides the backdrop for the story. It needs to have texture and depth just as much as characters do, because as a writer you build worlds. It might be the world we live in here, but you have to build the world of the story.
If you can bring places to life, it adds to the vibrancy of the story whether they are “real” or fantastical places. Imagine reading Lord of the Rings without the immense setting of Middle Earth. Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series also comes to mind. When Kim Harrison writes the Hollows books, she manages to blend our world with the world she’s created.
Like characters, you have to find the most vital details that make a place unique, sometimes a key descriptive word that the reader will come to associate with that place. When it comes to writing convincing setting, it helps to have been to whatever place you’re trying to describe, but if not, at least research the places. Hemingway was said to be able to describe places he’d never been with such artfulness that natives believed he had been there. If you want readers to suspend their disbelief for the length of the stories, setting can take them beyond accepting the world into actively immersing themselves into it.
Ah, gentle viewers. I realized today how much closer I am to getting the novel packaged up and polished. I know there’s still a lot of work to do — much of it pertaining to the information in the last post or two — but it feels attainable, whereas a couple years ago it just felt daunting.
I have the next two days off from the daily grind, and before that picks up again, I am planning to spend a good deal of time capitalizing on the time off and digging into revision.
One last thing before I sign off for the evening: thanks to anyone who stops by and reads my humble wee blog. It means a lot to me to peek at the stats for the day and see the number climbing. Thank you — I mean it.
In the coming months, you can look forward to some posted excerpts of my projects, and perhaps a full short story if you eat all your vegetables.
Peace and kitten purrs.
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