Sunday, 12 May 2013

Where You're Going and Where You've Been (JuNoWriMo #4)

Besides the obvious Hairspray reference (I've got Hairspray on the brain, sorry guys) I'm slowly going crazy. Lots of late nights and oddly timed mornings and I keep forgetting it's Sunday so forgive me if I ramble.

Right now I'm talking about setting. Setting is so important for a number of reasons.
  • It brings the world to life
  • It describes the character's mood
  • It indicates how a character lives their life
Imagine what would happen if The Hobbit had been set in New York City or if Harry Potter had gone to Hogwarts in outer space. They would be completely different stories.

Setting is a character within itself and it's essential to every single scene. It brings colour to the reader's imagination. It can make the reader feel what your character is feeling without ever having to say a thing. And most importantly (in my opinion), it adds character to your character. Where they live, where they work, how they decorate their bedroom, all go towards enhancing these characters that you've created, given them layers. No setting choice should be made without first considering who is in that setting.

So the task I have for you is to do research. We're almost half way through May so let's decide Where your story is taking place and When. When is a lot more tricky because you definitely need to have your time periods in order; how they dressed, what their income was, what their opinions of society were: they all go towards describing where and when your character lived which, in turn, describes your character. It's all very complicated.

We're going to take it one step further today and start in on the sensory details of your setting.

So, your task...

On a piece of paper or in a Word document or whatever you're doing, write down the very basic where and whens and then pick out two or three characters (one being your main, main character) and describe where they live. This can be their bedroom or their whole house or the woods the camp in - it doesn't matter - just use as many of your senses as possible. What do they see, hear, feel, smell (taste if you're feeling adventurous)? Describe as many details as possible keeping your characters in mind.

Then take those same characters and describe their favourite place in the entire world. It could be a tree, it could be a dragon cave, it could be the bottom of the ocean. Just think about your character and where they would love to be and then bring that place to life.

A great way to do this nowadays if you're more of a visual learner is to create a Pinterest board. Pin inspirational pictures and pictures of your characters and setting and anything that you need to help you out. You can follow my board for JuNoWriMo "Morose" here

You are literally creating worlds for your readers so the best way to achieve that is to create the world for yourself.

My story is set in modern western Canada. The big feature is this giant, Victorian-era mansion that I need more pictures of. I'm definitely a visual learner so Pinterest is going to save my life. What tools do you use to help create setting?

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