Welcome, friends. I hope all is fab this week. This is my last post about novel writing. In February, I will continue my Golden Advice series. But before we move on, let's think about setting. I always see setting as another character in the book. Like all characters, especially such an important one, I must work hard to slant the details in an original and proactive way. Here are some uncommon things that I do to help me bring "Reality" to the page.
1. Scrap. Scrap is cut-out or cut-and-pasted photos, paintings, any visual images --collections of everything that you know about a setting -- this includes clothing, your characters (they are part of the setting too!), stuff in their pockets, the knife, the oatmeal, the bubble path, the blood....put all together to help you create a sense of place. Not sure about your setting, make a collage of your scrap. Stare at the collage especially before bedtime or nap-time. It is VERY helpful to fall asleep staring at your scrap. Wake up and begin writing about your setting. See what happens.
2. Write a letter to your main character about your setting problem and then write another letter from your character to you, answering your questions. If your main character doesn't have a clue, ask some of your other characters.
3. Make a list of the top 5 places that your character absolutely would not like to go. Be sure your character is going to at least one of those places in your novel.
4. Draw a map and make a line indicating your character's path through your story. Is there any place she is not going?
5. Stop thinking about it and start writing. The process of writing can jar your brain and make you put begin to block out your scene. Make a commitment of 30 minutes a day for a week and write without stops for the whole time. Does anything emerge?
6. Think about your experiences. I have climbed in space shuttles, walked over lava beds, crawled into giant pipes, braved dank dark caves, jumped off of building, rolled under the bed, put on waders and headed into mountain streams. Characters often go where you have been. Daydream about that and see if anything pops up in your memory. Let that inform your story setting.
7. Sometimes you have try stuff out to get it right. Jump the fence, climb on the roof, hid under the bed, go to the park and swing. Take your notepad and write down everything -- smells, tastes, visuals, textures, sounds. Don't forget this stuff: pressure, vibrations, and proprioception (sense of how your own limbs are oriented in space). Really digging deep into perception can help you develop your novel's setting.
So there are 7 things that might bring some jazz to your story setting. I hope you pay attention to the details. See ya next week.
This is a guest doodle from my son. "Still Life" by Jesse Blaisdell. Check out his website: www.jdanielblaisdell.com.
"Every story would be another story, and unrecognizable if it took up its characters and plot and happened somewhere else..." Eudora Welty