Hello and welcome to writing tips with The Shouting Mute. Today I will be talking about setting in story telling.
Now a few weeks ago I created a character, Charlie Smith, who has blonde hair and green eyes. Charlie likes fish and chips, salad and wears a baseball cap that says Bournemouth on it.
So we already have a town in there and that town is obviously special to Charlie Smith. Now we need to get Charlie to paint the town in words. Whether it’s for a play in a theatre, a book, or a poem about a place, setting is extremely important.
For this exercise you can start by making a list of places like the beach, an arcade, an ice cream kiosk, a fish and chip shop, a park, a shopping centre, and so on. List places for 10 minutes, or 15 minutes for eye gaze and communication aid users, then pick a place and describe the actions of your character in that setting. Here is my example –
Charlie: I am at the beach with some mates. it was a sunny day with the ice cream kiosk open. there was a big penny arcade at the beach on the prom with shops and restaurants. all types of establishments. we went into the penny arcade. it was a noisy room of fun with pinging, zipping pennies dropping and the smell of sweets chocolate and sweaty teenagers. I accidentally dropped a penny on the red and blue spotted carpet and my crush picked the penny up for me.
Use your setting to create drama. Use your setting to get to know your character and what they would do, in their natural habitat, and unfamiliar environments. The best plays and books have a place or setting. Without thinking about where you place your characters, you can’t properly bring your characters to life.
So where is your piece of writing set? How will the setting change your character? How does the character react to different places?
Those are your tips for the next few days, think about setting. Set up drama in your setting, and let the story unfold in a place. Join me next time for another mini workshop and let me know how you get on, or if you have any questions, or suggestions of your own.