Welcome to the fifth installment of Fiction Fundamentals. In this issue…Setting.
How would you describe this street? What are you writing? Who is your character? That and more will affect your description.
Setting serves an important purpose to ground the reader. It’s hard to get into a story when you don’t know where the character is or at what point in time the story takes place.
Margie Lawson maintains that within the first paragraph or two of every chapter or scene, you need to inform the reader of setting. Sometimes this isn’t necessary. If you start off each chapter with the location and year (for example, “London, March 1815”), then we have a pretty good idea of the where and when.
But establishing setting is more than just the where and when. There are Continue reading
Me (left) and Jilly, the most amazing travel partner and tour guide!
As many of you know, I recently wrapped up a fabulous 10-day trip to England (with the wonderful Jilly as my official host and tour guide). The things I saw and did are experiences that I will eventually include in my books, with the goal being more realistic, “show-not-tell” scenes…scenes written well enough, you can imagine yourself there, even as you sit in your bed curled up with the book.
To get to that point, though, a bit of preschool-type exercises in the five senses can be very helpful to ensure your readers get “the full picture.” Using two of the pictures I’ve taken as examples, I’ll come up with some basic descriptions of different “scenes,” hitting on the major images, feelings, etc. that I want to evoke as I describe that scene for a reader.
First is Continue reading
The Iris Gardens at Meiji Shrine. We’re often driven to capture reality, whether it’s in pixels or oils or words. (©Michaeline Duskova, 2014)
I just got back from Tokyo last week, where I “walked the walk” of my characters in my 2013 NaNo, Little Affair in Greater Tokyo.
Going to Tokyo is a big deal for me because I live on the island of Hokkaido. But unusually, this was my third time in Tokyo in as many years, so I could ignore some of the first-time tourist distractions and go a bit deeper into my research.
When I was writing my NaNo in November, I got stuck in some of the half-remembered details. I looked at my pictures from my Tokyo trip, and they helped trigger my memories, but I remember thinking, “Man, these pictures suck. And there aren’t nearly enough of them!” I wound up Continue reading
1001 Details of Takeshita Street
Yesterday, Kat talked about travelling to the setting of her contemporary romance and doing research on the spot. I have to agree, there’s nothing like going there, soaking up the atmosphere, and turning that into words – maybe in one’s diary or blog for practice before the words make it onto the page.
I mostly write urban fantasy and science fiction, so it’s not possible for me to physically travel to the Angel Caldera on Paradise 7, or visit the Goblin King’s throne room in the depths of the Cave of Wonders. I have to use my imagination, but Continue reading