|Best thing about winter:|
I get to wear my scarves!
So let's get this blog up-to-date with my Writing Craft lecture notes!
Where? Place and Setting
Readings for this week were The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schultz (pages 25-35), The Deadman Dance by Kim Scott (pages 1-5, 7, 9-14), The Easter Hare by Leah Swann (pages 164-176) and The Line by David Brooks (pages 319-321).
For something to happen, it has to happen SOMEWHERE. It isn't possible for something to happen nowhere. Setting can be established by combining the where and the when of the story, and I say 'when' as well here because you could be standing somewhere and then a hundred years later that somewhere is going to be very different. Readers want to be grounded and given a setting; a place for the action in the story to occur. The setting or place in and of itself becomes a type of character and can change what a reader expect to happen next, what mood the piece will have, etc.
Our lecturer went on to explain that a story consists of character and setting (who, where and when?). Eliminating one of this elements could make a story hard or impossible to write or be engaging. So from this, we have a checklist:
- Stories need to have a temporal 'location'. You need to know 'when?'
- Stories need to be 'placed' somewhere in the world or in other worlds. 'Where?'
- Stories need to be populated with 'beings' that the reader can invest in. To be engaging, they probably need to want something.
- Characters need to want something in a specific place and at a particular time.
- The time and place will impact on the things the character wants and the things they'll do to try to get them.
When we're establishing a place, we have to remember that in real life, a setting stimulates all of the senses: sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. Think about what you could bring in from different aspects of your senses to really enrich the scene.
Think of your favourite book or movie. What kind of a setting does it have? Imagine removing the setting from this work or making it only vague and sketchy. What is the effect?
My immediate thought was Harry Potter without Hogwarts. The story would be so different without Hogwarts. Share yours below.