Setting The Scene
Setting for a story is important, exciting, and often challenging.
While I endeavor to give my readers a vivid sense of where and when events occur, I struggle with what is essential versus what "I" wish to highlight.
- Sensory details are essential.
- Show what is surprising or strange to the main character.
- Introduce emotional qualities of the 'place.' Tragic, Cheerful, Nostalgic, or another emotion.
- How does the character feel about the place?
- Is the story set in the city, the desert, or an imaginary world?
- What are the key details that make your story's setting interesting?
While my stories may be fiction, I have lived in or vacationed in the town or area I chose as a setting. This is important to me. It's my way of making the scene come alive for my readers.
I set up a picture storyboard for reference.
I study the regional dialect. Example: Porch, Stoop, Patio. In California, it's a patio; in Texas, a porch; and in Chicago, Illinois, it's a stoop.
Your readers will point out your mistake.
If you are writing a historical novel, research is a must. Libraries, Historical Societies, original documents, and personal diaries are essential. However, Wikipedia or www search acquired historical information is always suspect.
My opening settings/hooks:
Charlene hadn't told Rachel she'd fixed her up with a cowboy, much less Lynx Maddox, the "Wild Cat" of the rodeo circuit. Rachel sighed. She should have known. After all, Charlene only dated men who wore booths and Stetsons.
Thunder rumbled across the remote New Mexico sky as an unforgiving wind shoved somber gray clouds against a craggy mountaintop. Brede Kristensen tugged the brim of his Stetson lower of his forehead. The threat of a storm didn't faze him; nothing fazed him anymore. The worst had already happened.
"You and Elvis have done a great job on this house," Meredith said as her older sister led the way downstairs toward the kitchen, where the tour began. "Sorry I couldn't get over until now, but I've been sort of...well, busy. " She hoped her sister didn't ask her to define busy. Becoming a zombie and dealing with the entire raised from the dead issue over the past six months was not a topic easily plunked into casual conversation.
Marring Off Murphy
Settling into his office chair, Professor Murphy Flynn glanced at the copy of OP News. "I Want to Get Married," the headline read. He upended his coffee mug when he realized the grainy photo was of him, sending the liquid perilously close to a six-inch stack of ungraded papers.
Love Potion N. 9
"Don't shake your finger at me, Simone Basso. I know what I'm doing," Persia Richmond said, holding a pipette to fill a crystal half-ounce atomizer with perfume.
A Slice of Scandal
"Hey, now,' dis key lime [pie's like de one I serve at my restaurant. Simple to make and good to eat! Key limes perk up de mouth and makes you hoppy."
Producer/Director Julia Kincaid focused on her monitor and adjusted the mic of her headset. "Camera One, tighten the headshot." She watched as the camera feathered over the chef to capture the best angle. The camera should have loved Franklin. His height was average, his black hair was short and curly, and his skin took on a polished bronze color under the harsh camera lights, but the camera didn't like Franklin. There was something about his eyes: the dark agate, forbidding and expressionless...
The moon was full: giant in the sky, a brilliant iridescent orb that stared down at the earth. Enza allowed the energy to feather over her as she removed the silk cloth protecting her Tarot cards.
There are seventy-eight cards in the Tarot deck. Four suits of fourteen cards each. Swords, Cups, Wands, Pentacles, and twenty-two cards call the major arcane--the big mysteries.
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