Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Novel Work #2 – Setting

Working out of town usually gives me time to catch up on movie going, since there’s not much to do once the job site is closed for the day. And depending on what time of day or night that happens, I’m pretty much mentally trashed. So actually it’s become kind of a special treat. Especially since movies have gotten so frickin’ expensive!
Thinking about some of the movies I’ve seen recently, made me very aware of how much of a part setting plays in the story line. I struggle with this sometimes in my own stories. The important things that usually drive a story are plot line, characters, and macguffins. But what’s holding all this up? The setting.

Some days I find I’ve written several pages, and being tied up with characters have not added in any detail beyond the rudimentary about where these people are and how it affects the outcome of their schemes. Then I have to go back and layer in specific things which will enhance the story, making it richer and hopefully more captivating.

My recent viewings have included the last Harry Potter, Captain America, and Cars 2. I mean really, given my line of work, how could I not go see Cars? Each movie is distinctive in its setting. Imagine for a moment how awful it would be if you didn’t have the eloquence of the background detail as the supporting cast.
Where would Harry be without the fabulous world of Hogwarts? And Captain America without the war? So not happening. Not to mention a world where everything revolves around cars that talk.

If you are searching for a way to make your story stand out, don’t overlook the obvious. Don’t just gloss over the setting, assuming that readers will ‘get it’ because it’s set in a world we all know. Take the time to add the details that make it special. Not only will readers thank you for it, but it will make your story shine.

1 comment:

  1. Man, you're so right! I'm really bad about writing a scene with nothing but dialogue. :) Love to have my characters verbally spar... but it doesn't give the reader much to "see".

    Awesome pointer!