Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Setting in the Way? Change It

“The setting can be used for contrast, having something taking place in an unexpected place. Also, the more unfamiliar the reader is with the setting, the more interesting the setting.” James A Janke in Creative Writing Tips
The setting itself can show the reader a lot about a story. A woman in a evening gown sitting in a bus station will grab the reader’s attention. That doesn’t mean every story should be set in an odd setting, but changing the setting might bring a story to life. One of my published stories, Sons of Their Fathers, is an example.

I started this story with an ending in mind, but couldn’t get there. I originally set the story on a street corner in a hispanic neighborhood. The setting was too “typical” to interest me (and probably the reader). I moved the story to a city park where a father and son played soccer, while the mother looked on from a set of bleachers. This change of setting altered my thinking enough that I got to an ending close to my original idea, but one that fit the story much better. From this story, I learned that, along with changing the point of view, altering the setting may result in a better, more publishable story.

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