Once you have decided on the theme for your story, the next significant decision to make is the setting. In many ways this is almost as important as the story itself.
Tip 14 – Where in the World?
The location, properly used, brings atmosphere and depth, which should be fully developed before the closing words of chapter one.
The only catch to this is that children find long descriptions boring. For this reason it is strongly advised that you avoid starting your book by describing a town or landscape – even if it is a vibrant (to you) depiction of a new and alien world that has only just been discovered!
So how do you describe this brave new world without sending your readers to sleep?
To start with, you, as the writer, need to know everything possible about your fictional setting. Make copious notes so that you can refer back whenever you need reminding about the where, what and how of the place. But remember, these notes are for your use only, and should not be copied piecemeal into the story.
Next, try to visualize the scene where the action is taking place and write what you ‘see’ happening. You will automatically describe what is important and ignore the parts that aren’t.
For example, if your tale is set in a creepy castle, and you want your readers to know that it hasn’t been inhabited for several years, use action to get the message across.
If the hero ducks behind a rusting suit of armour and gets covered in cobwebs, or the heroine picks up a cushion to throw, only to find it crumbles to dust in her hands, the reader can see the setting, and in a more interesting way than through detailed description.
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