Maximizing the Setting
Okay. You've picked the perfect setting for your story. You can describe it so clearly and compellingly that your readers will want to move there. Is that all there is to it? You might as well ask if I'd like plain vanilla ice cream or Ben & Jerry's Everything But The… It's a no-brainer, people. Maximize your setting to upgrade your story from vanilla to Mmmmmmm.
Set the Mood
Mood can be defined as the feeling a story evokes. Stories can be creepy (Pet Sematary), uplifting (Anne of Green Gables), tranquil (The Wind in the Willows), or any other emotion you want to put across. And the mood doesn't have to encompass an entire story; different scenes or sections within a story might make you feel different ways. Creating mood is tricky, requiring careful writing across the different elements of your story. The character's attitude and actions can reflect the mood you want to convey. Word choice will have a strong impact on how the audience feels while reading. Conflicts can propel your character toward a choice, or right into a particular mood. And then, of course, you have the setting. Want to convey a feeling of uncertainty? Make the weather unsettled—balmy one day, sleeting the next. Include things in your setting that can add to that uncertain feel: a lopsided power pole that wavers in the wind but never quite falls; a car that may or may not start; an early freeze and a citrus crop. Before you write, think about what mood you want your story or individual scenes to convey, and decide what you'll use in your setting to reinforce that feeling.
Pick a Symbol
Don't Forget the Weather
- As always, choose your details carefully. If the weather doesn't provide anything but backdrop, just give a quick overview. The blizzard was finally over. Or, I hunched my shoulders against the icy wind.
- If the weather plays a bigger part in the story, engage in good descriptive writing techniques. But don't fall back on standard weather descriptions, many of which have been overused to the point of staleness. Instead of going into detail about the rain, which would look the same in almost any setting, describe something in your scene that's being affected by it, like the withered plants or the umbrella-less woman. This will give the weather a fresh perspective that's specific to your setting.