Jan. 16th, 2016

alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
I don't have Internet right now, so I am swooping in and out as wireless presents itself. But I did see this article on effective settings, and since it mentions something I consider crucial I thought I'd share.

Beginning writers often:

* wait until it’s too late to describe and orient the reader as to place;
*or totally forget that the reader has no idea where the character is in the story, because the location has suddenly moved from a known to a new, unknown location.

If I write, Joe left his home and went to the city, the setting is so vague that it leaves you clueless and frustrated. But if I write, Joe left his beachside cottage and drove into Lake Forest City, a northern suburb of Seattle, the addition of a few specifics gives you enough to inhabit the character’s world while keeping the main focus on what’s happening in the story.

I often tell students and clients that we live in a very visual age. If you don't give enough hints to anchor a reader's vision, they will create their own scene. And then later, when you toss in something very specific, your reader has a problem. It may be very different from what they have already visualized, throwing them out of the book--or they may like their version better. Try not to bring the reader to a halt at that point. Give them a few visuals up front!

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