Saturday, May 18, 2013

Blooming: Setting

Hi, folks: I'm continuing my blog series Blooming, and I'm keeping with the list-y format. I'm offering pre-writing activities for setting this week. Authentic setting will make your stories pop!  I hope that something here helps you utilize place within your stories like it is a living breathing character. 

Travel -- One powerful way to create setting is to go there. Here is a link to Stephanie Meyer's trip to Forks, WA.   Take a camera, a notebook, a recorder and go crazy!  Don't  be shy. Talk to old timers, visit old houses, tromp through historical sites, and tiptoe through graveyards!

Shop -- I have more than one friend that shops for vintage photos on eBay. I also like to rummage around in antique shops. Remember a picture is worth a thousand words.

Maps -- I love Google Earth. Man, it is addictive. At Google Maps you can get directions to drive, take transit, walk or bike there. Very handy.  I also like Map Quest.  Here is a link to 3-D virtual room software.  I also am a pretty handy doodler and create maps for my fantasy and sci-fi worlds. If you don't doodle, try fantasy map making software like at ProFantasy Software.

Model -- Here is a link to Dollhousecity. You might want to but miniature set of furniture for a room. Here is a Wooden Dollhouse Set from Amazon. This can be handy if you have a fight scene and need to toss some furniture around.  Exactly how does a chair look that is tossed out a window? I mean you could really toss a chair out the window or ....

Archives -- Did you know almost all major cities have online photo archives?  Here are a couple to get you started.   Here is NYC Municipal Archives.  Here is a link to the City of Houston Gallery.  Newspapers also have photo archives.  Here is one to the Chicago Tribune. I am also a big fan of the digital collections at the Library of Congress.

If you are in doubt, Google it. 

I think following up with some of these pre-writing activities are a great way to build strong story bones.  I hope that you are moving forward with your project.

Here is this week's doodle:  "Dandelion".

Here is a quote for your pocket.

All the ideas in the universe can be described by words. Therefore, if you simply take all the words and rearrange them randomly enough times, you’re bound to hit upon at least a few great ideas eventually. Sausage donkey swallows flying guillotine, my love assembly line.
 Jarod Kintz


Mirka Breen said...

All of the above. I agree. Can't imagine writing about a setting I had never been to.

MollyMom103 said...

World building is a fave thing of mine. We seem to always be on the same page. :)

Vijaya said...

Oooh, I want dollhouse furniture :) You're so funny, Molly. Yes, why not throw a chair out the window ... Honey, it's just research for my new book. Okay, now that I've stopped snorting my tea, I'll be serious. Setting is huge for me ... maps, floor plans, GoogleEarth are my friends. Is it bad that I am seriously considering dollhouse furniture? It's just sooo cute ... and I could paint it and put little cacti or flowerpots on it, or throw it out the window.

Leandra Wallace said...

Thanks. Thanks alot. I've never had the urge to throw a chair out the window, but now I totally do! Maybe if I found an abandoned house... ;)

MollyMom103 said...

Vijaya! Glad to make you snort! The miniture furniture is really cute. I have a few pieces. Research! Ooh, I bet you coud make the cacti out of modeling clay. I dream of owning one of those 3-D printers. I could really go to town with that....

Leandra, glad to have sparked something! I promise that staging some of your good ideas will help you write more vivid scenes.