Thursday, March 20, 2008

Write It Out 2

First, last week's assignment...

"You're dating John?!" Sara (left) exclaimed. "No way! He and I were engaged

"Really?" Clarisse (right) forced a smile. She had heard about Sara and could see
why John dumped her. She was such a ditz.

Elaine (center) was highly amused. This was SO going on the front page of the
college tabloid! Being editor was so much fun.

And next week's...

There are actually two. One for those who just want a quick little exercise and one for those who actually wish to develop a story.

Quick little exercise:
Choose an inanimate object in your house (or better yet, have one of your children or your spouse choose one). Ponder the object for a few minutes, then write a paragraph describing how you reflect this object.

Building a story:

Choosing a setting:
Some tend to look at the setting (where and when) as the backdrop of a story, just as they would see the surrounding scenery as a backdrop to a portrait. However, I believe the setting makes the story what it is. It is the foundation. Take for example, Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Change the setting from Civil War era United States to Modern France and you not only change the backdrop, but you change the whole story. The setting, then, is even more important than the characters, for it is the setting that makes the characters who they are.

Choose a setting for your story. Perhaps you already have one in mind or maybe your clueless. If you need a little help, think about a place your familiar with, like where you grew up or where you vacationed. Or how about a place you're intrigued with and would love to learn more about? Study the place you choose. Read up on it. Recall memories. Look at photos. Study maps. Learn the culture. Read up on the history. Get a good all around feel of where your story will be taking place.

Once you are well aquainted with the where, decide on the when. Does the history intrigue you enough to present your story in the past? Perhaps modern times is more suiting. What do you imagine this place to be like in the future?

Whatever setting you choose, learn it well. There will be readers out there who may live there or know the history of the setting. If you are not well learned on the culture of your setting, it will make for a weak story.

Next week, share with us where your story will take place, and why you chose that place. Begin studying and have fun.

Disclaimer: I am, by no means, an expert writer, nor do I claim to be. I have taken a few creative writing classes, one lasting a week and another four months several years ago. I had a few writings published in my single years, but these hardly count as they were instructional writing at a grade school reading level. I am simply inviting you to join me in my learning and stretching. And I just find it plain fun.

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