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Writing About A Sense of Place

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The setting of a story is more than just a place. It can be a powerful character. It can transform the reader's imagination and it can ground a good plot. Learn how your "special place" can anchor your manuscript.

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Writing About A Sense of Place

  1. 1. + A SENSE OF PLACE HOW TO TAKE THE READER THERE Presented by GINGER MARCINKOWSKI, M.F.A. Author & Speaker
  2. 2. + WHAT IS A SENSE OF PLACE?  Anchor to a story-it is place that often drives story  Character  Setting tells us where you are*  What the mood is  What time frame you are writing from  What action may be taking place  It is adaptable  World view  Up close view *From Janet Burroway’s, Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft 2007. Pg. 135
  3. 3. + Let’s Try an Exercise The man gathered clams for dinner. Rewrite using one or more of the following:  Concrete details  Smell  Sound  Taste  Touch (Pg. 27 TBL)
  4. 4. + WHAT SETTING DOES  Creates a mood-(The Pearl Diver, pg. 4-5)  Stands as a Symbol-(Run, River Currents pg. 104)  Gives the reader a rich imagery- (Run, River Currents pg. 26- 27)  Creates Conflict or harmony with characters- ( Ironweed, pg. 1) (Wise Blood, pg. 9)  Adds humor-(Help Wanted: Female pg.4)
  5. 5. + Let’s Try an Exercise  Think about your writing place for a moment.  Describe:  What it looks like  What it smells like  How you feel there  Do you love or hate it?  Why?
  6. 6. + Write about one of the photos
  7. 7. + LET’S TRY AN EXERCISE IN IMAGERY Here are a list of clichés. Create a setting from them using concrete details.  A dark and stormy night  Raining cats and dogs  Freeze you to death  Scorching hot  Foggy as pea soup  Balmy weather  Fragrant as new-mown hay Adapted from Janet Burroway’s, Imaginative Writing, The Elements of Craft. Pg. 140
  8. 8. + Use Setting to… • Create a world • Weather • Time of Day/or Place in Time • Characters familiar or unfamiliar with place • Show Emotion
  9. 9. + ACTION WORDS  Hurdle instead of throw  Elated instead of pleased  Enraged instead of angry  Munch instead of eat  Use words like pilfer, snatch, contemplate, sprint, nibble, escape, frets, exploded, raw sores, stifled, rattled, squeezed, stoked, nestled, brushed, mingled…all visual, powerful words…
  10. 10. + CHECKLIST FOR SETTING  Write down  What you “see”  What you “smell”  What you “taste”  How something “feels”  What you “hear”  Mood  Somber  Safe  Threatening  Common  Prompts  Use old photos  Research  Visit  Someplace you love  Your words  Create imagery  Set tone  Forward story  Show action
  11. 11. + A SENSE OF PLACE HOW TO TAKE THE READER THERE Presented by GINGER MARCINKOWSKI, M.F.A. Author & Speaker

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