Writing Vivid Settings by Rayne Hall
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Where would Peter Pan defeat Captain Hook if Neverland never existed? When would Marty McFly go Back to the Future if time was non-existent? How would Jo March write Little Women if she hadn’t grown up with three sisters?
Every story, or scene, NEEDS a setting – place, time and circumstance. Otherwise, the story happens in a white space much like printed words, trapped within wide margins on blank sheets of paper. Blinded by the white, the characters exist in isolation – nothing to do and nowhere to go.
So, I purchased Writing Vivid Settings by Rayne Hall to develop this skill. This book is part of her bestselling Writer’s Craft Series which I’ve been using as a crash course in creative writing.
Unlike traditional textbooks which only discuss the elements of setting, Writing Vivid Settings dives into the techniques for their effective implementation, explaining when and how to use them and common mistakes to avoid. Professional examples illustrate how authors apply these techniques to immerse readers in the realism they crave.
Prior to reading this book, I struggled with description. I neglected the senses other than the visual and used common nouns and vague adjectives. Everything was beautiful and… boring.
Now, my senses are in a heightened state of awareness. Like a detective, I notice scents upon arrival and find fascinating features. I listen for noises, but not only in the background. Like a photographer, I study light and shadow, observing effects of the hour and weather. Like a poet, I search for symbolism in my surroundings.
But, there’s much more to learn from Writing Vivid Settings. For example:
- How description affects pacing and how much to include.
- How details show the passage of time.
- Which details enhance, or spoil, scenes.
- How perspective determines the details seen.
I highly recommend Writing Vivid Settings by Rayne Hall. This handy guide will lead you to the multi-dimensional setting your story deserves. Let your words spill beyond those wide, white margins into a world of their own because a story without a setting is hardly a story at all!