Tag Archive - writing craft

Less Is More When It Comes to Setting

On Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at excerpts from past posts on Live Write Thrive.

Today’s post is from A Peek inside the Envelope:

Sol Stein, the famous editor, author, and writing instructor, has a very short chapter in his classic book Stein on Writing that he calls “Creating the Envelope.” As I looked through my numerous books on writing craft, I drifted toward his book (which happens a lot), and was reminded again of the best advice to give writers regarding setting details.

Here’s what he says: “Writing fiction is a delicate balance, On the one hand, so much inexperienced writing suffers from generalities. The writer is urged to be specific, particular, concrete. At the same time, when the inexperienced writer gives the reader detail on character, clothing, settings, and actions, he tends to give us a surfeit, robbing the reader of one of the great pleasures of reading, exercising the imagination. My advice on achieving a balance is to . . . err on the side of too little rather than too much. For the reader’s imagination, less is more.” Continue Reading…

12 Questions to Ask Your Character about the Setting She Is In

On Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at excerpts from past posts on Live Write Thrive

Today’s post is from Settings in Your Novel That Work As Triggers:

When choosing settings for your scenes, you want to think about the kinds of places that will allow the emotions, needs, dreams, and fears of your characters to come out.

Certain places will trigger these things to come to the surface and will stir memories. Your character has a past, and even if she never visits any of the places in her past in your novel, other places can draw out feelings and memories. This happens to us all the time.

Of course, if you are putting your characters in places they’ve been before, or they are living in the same town their whole life, those memories and feelings are closer to the surface.

The point it, you want to use your setting to help bring out your themes, drive your plot, and reveal character. You don’t have to do this, but by ignoring setting you are missing out on a great tool in your writer’s toolbox that you can use in a powerful way. Continue Reading…

How Writers Can Develop Emotional Connections between Reader and Hero

Today’s guest post is by Patrick Cole: 

When I first met Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities, I was in high school and certainly not yet “fully baked.” In fact, my major emotional connection to the novel was not with Sydney Carton but with Lucy and Charles. They were so in love, and I just wanted there to be a romantic happy ending for them. Dickens did not disappoint me.

Of course, since that time, I have reread this novel two more times—once in college for an English Lit. class and once more because there is much to learn from Dickens’s writing.

To me, now that I am closer to coming out of the oven, Carton as a redemptive figure is one of the best in literature. And while many fiction writers do not have “Christlike” characters in their novels, the methods used by Dickens to establish that emotional connection are timeless and universal. Here are things I have learned that you can learn too. Continue Reading…

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