Friday, May 7, 2010

Fiction - Create the World of Your Dreams

Isn't being a writer wonderful? Declaring yourself a writer, gives you license to create the world of your dreams... or your nightmares (depending on your genre).

One of the first steps in developing your novel is to choose your setting and develop the details about it. When you write, you'll want those details to be consistent throughout the book.

The setting of your book will set the tone for your writing and will help convey the theme of your story, so choose it wisely. Here are some tips on how to develop your setting:

1.Start painting the picture of your setting with broad strokes from far away. For example, choose a country or continent where your story will take place and zoom in from there. Here's a way to look at it...
the World
North America
United States

2. Once you have chosen the setting or settings for your story, develop a description of the town(s) you have chosen. For example, Jackson is a small town in Michigan south of Lansing and west of Ann Arbor. It is a sleepy town revolving around neighborhoods. It is surrounded by lakes and many residents have cottages on the lakes for weekends and vacations.

3. Repeat step two for all the towns or cities or major settings of your story. You don't need to go into all the specifics. Instead, just create a feeling.

4. As you dream up your story, you'll need to create more details about settings for specific scenes. One way to do this is to draw a map of the town or neighborhood. Place the house on the map, then place all the surrounding houses and landmarks that will be important to your story.

5. Next, create a blueprint of the house and draw squares, triangles and circles to represent furniture and markings for windows and doors. Repeat this for all the scenes in your book, including stores, parks, other homes, picnic areas, etc.

6. The drawings need to be as detailed as you need to tell the story. They don't need to be good drawings however. Don't let me hear any of you say you can't write a novel because you can't draw the settings.

The point of this exercise is to help you keep the details of your settings and scenes straight when you're writing. We all want seamless writing where the readers are totally absorbed in the story. By taking the time to do this, your readers can look forward to living your story.

I'd love to hear what techniques you use to develop your settings.


Diane said...

Great exercise. Have a great weekend! :O)

Jeff King said...

Thx for the advice... it will help me paint a better picture for my readers.

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