Tuesday, 14 January 2014

SETTING THE SCENE



Although many writers limit the amount of attention given to descriptions of setting, it's worth while exploring different ways you can employ this aspect of writing to advance your story.

Setting can be used to illuminate hidden facets of a character’s personality. A sharp successful business woman may sleep in a four poster bed, revealing a romantic side to her nature; a teenage boy might keep a collection of miniature cars from his preteen years as a way of holding on to happier childhood memories. Used in this way, setting can increase a character's complexity.

Another function of setting can be to instigate plot. If you place your character in a sympathetic environment where they feel comfortable, then as soon as you introduce a disturbing element everything changes – think of Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. In an alternate scenario, if you situate your protagonist in hostile surroundings, you immediately open up plenty of possibilities in terms of plot – think of Vianne Rocher in Joanne Harris’s Chocolat.

Exploring emotions through setting is another effective approach. By showing how characters view the places in their lives, home, work place etc., a writer can reveal something of who they are, and how they are feeling at any given moment. A young man frustrated with the lack of opportunities for advancement in his job will demonstrate his dissatisfaction both at work and at home. 

Setting also provides opportunity for both writer and reader to explore sensory experiences. Describing in detail the smells, sounds, sights, and even how a surface feels to the sense of touch are an excellent way to invoke the atmosphere of a place.

So whether your story takes place in the local convenience store or a future time in a far galaxy, setting is a valuable tool available to writers in making fictional worlds real and alive to the reader.

This Week’s Rant!
Why do these things - by which I mean computer stuff - have to be so tricky and awkward?

Having finished my first novel, I wanted to change the url on my blog as it said ‘myfirstnovel’. In my ignorance and haste, I thought if I deleted the ‘first’ everything else would remain the same as I begin working on my second (and hopefully) future novels. 

Alas, it turns out that although the blog posts remain, all the more recent comments have fled. So my apologies to those of you who so generously read and commented on any of my recent posts. And if you come across a bunch of lost, lonely comments (or, as the humorous Glen Perkins suggested - maybe they’re on strike) please, send them home to mama! All is forgiven!

And Google+: ********!

Writing Update.I
So while my mainstream commercial women's fiction ms wings its way through the ether to a series of agents and publishers, I’ve reread and started editing last November’s nano novel.  This is a supernatural mash-up, and, without doubt, there are a number of issues to address, not the least a distinct bullet point narration style which I’ve attributed to my determination to achieve that word count per day. And while trying to get a novel out to readers is hard work,  this writing thing is addictive - and I know it's what I love doing.

Today’s Haiku
WINTER
window icicles
glisten in cold winter sun –
stalactite daggers

Useful Links:
An interesting post about the publishing industry in the upcoming year:
This was one of several blogs I found helpful when it came to writing my synopsis:

Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku

To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.

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Apart from writing, I'm compiling a bucket list of places I'd like to  visit...from Iceland to Hawaii and onwards....
         

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