Wednesday, May 9, 2012

From the Outside In~~

Your Fictitious World    Part 2:  

Setting, Setting, Setting 
Your Characters' Physical World

Carol Ferderlin Baldwin  posts thought-provoking writing-related questions on her Facebook page, from getting into your character's head to getting into your character's world. 

She got me thinking I should share some of the tipsheet topics I use in workshops and manuscript critiques.
covers check lists for making your characters three dimensional. The world they inhabit needs that same depth, breadth and believability. 

the rooms of the house, the streets of the town, 
the halls in the asylum, the colonies on the planet 
~~ the fine art of world building ~~

Shelley Adina's Trilogy Magnificent Devices yanks us into steampunk London. She uses real streets but "my heroine's experience of them is fantasy.... she breaks a mad scientist out of Bedlam~~which was the Bethlehem Hospital in its old location near St. George's fields. I found a floor plan on line and she broke in near the cold baths that they plunged the poor 'unfortunates' into in real life." 

~~Another planet, another century,
 another country or three blocks over~~            

It's in your head, now hit the keys or grip the pen.
Create your own system; keep it at your fingertips.  

❉  In a single paragraph Describe broad settings: fictitious, real or combination?
  Start wide and funnel the view. 
          Another planet? Another country? 
          Urban? Suburban? Rural? 
  • Name streets and relevant buildings your characters inhabit, where they work/go to school worship/party shop 
  • Describe habitats: A pod on a space station? A barn on a commune? Subsidized housing? Apartment complex? Condo? Post-WW2 tract housing? McMansion? Estate?
  • Own or rent? Mortgaged or not? There by choice? 
  • Describe significant rooms in detail
 ✐ Draw floor plans, sketch maps 
 Remember the importance of flora, fauna & weather

As with character sketches, a fraction of this will wind up on the page. Your goal is to breathe life into every individual & create atmosphere for every setting. 

You have to take your readers there.

And they have to want to stay.


Carol Baldwin said...

AH ha! I found part 2. Thanks!! Breathing life into our characters and scenes so they don't want to leave them. Yes, great reminders!!

Heidi Ruby Miller said...

Wonderful post, Leslie!

World-building is such a great way to put those daydreams to work.

Thank you for including the Ambasadora-verse!

Barbara O'Connor said...

Great post

Lee Stokes Hilton said...

Nice post. Reminded me of The Great Sendack and the amazing interior worlds he created. Fabulous obit in yesterday's Times -- a must read. Imagine devoting a FULL PAGE+ to a children's book writer/illustrator. In our dreams, we would all have a fraction of that impact.