And why should I care? Writers often focus on the second question, how to hook a reader. But orienting the reader is just as important. They need to know the setting:
So, too, is much of the work of a writer. Too little detail leaves your characters wandering through the narrative equivalent of an empty stage. Too much, and you end up with great blocks of description that tempt the reader to skip and skim, looking for the action.
To set your stage, it's important to choose the most appropriate, vivid details possible. It's equally important to present those details in a way that will engage the reader.
The following four techniques can help. Let your description unfold as a character moves through the scene. Consider which details your character would notice immediately, and which might register more slowly. Let your character encounter those details interactively.
Suppose, for example, that your heroine, an "Orphan Annie" of humble origins, has entered a millionaire's mansion.
What would she notice first? How would she react to her surroundings? Let her observe how soft the rich Persian carpet feels underfoot, how it muffles her footfalls, how she's tempted to remove her shoes.
Don't tell us the sofa is soft until she actually sinks into it. Let her smell the fragrance of hothouse flowers filling a cut-crystal vase.
Use active verbs to set the scene.
Instead of saying "a heavy marble table dominated the room," force your character to detour around it. Instead of explaining that "light glittered and danced from the crystal chandelier," let your character blink at the prismatic display.
What your character knows will directly influence what she sees. Your orphan may not know whether the carpet is Persian or Moroccan, or even whether it's wool or polyester. If these details are important, how can you convey them? You could, of course, let the haughty owner of the mansion point out your heroine's ignorance.
Or, you could write the scene from the owner's perspective. Keep in mind, however, that different characters will perceive the same surroundings in very different ways, based on their familiarity or lack thereof with the setting. Imagine, for example, that you're describing a stretch of windswept coastline from the perspective of a local fisherman's son.
What would he notice? From the color of the sky or changes in the wind, he might make deductions about tomorrow's weather and sailing conditions.I hesitated, my heart thumping, at the boundary between light and dark.
From the overhead clumps of moss, cold drops plopped into my hair, a water clock ticking away the precious seconds. Find government information on education including primary, secondary, and higher education.
Spiritual Gifts Definitions and Biblical References. Administration Administration (Serving Gift) - The special ability God gives to some to steer the body toward the accomplishment of God-given goals and directives by planning, organizing, and supervising others.
- Audrey Hepburn won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in the film ROMAN HOLIDAY. Her acceptance speech was very concise: 'It's too much. I want to say thank you to everybody who in these past months and years have helped ' from the Oscars.
Jean McNiff is an independent researcher and writer, Professor of Educational Research at York St John University, and Visiting Professor at Oslo and Akershus University College, Beijing Normal University and Ningxia Teachers University. She is also the author of key texts Action Research: Principles and Practice, You and Your Action Research Project and Writing Up Your Action Research Project.
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