Camp Tip #5 – Scenery

Location. Location. Location.

Whether you’re writing an epic fantasy spanning over several fictional nations, Sci-fi with whole galaxies to travel, or writing a story that takes place in one single room (think Saw 1), where you’re characters are can have a huge impact on your story. Your world, no matter the genre, grounds your characters it your fictional reality. It is their backdrop, and as one it can either make them stand out, it can drown them out, or if its not describe and utilized well, it can leave your characters moving from one hazy void to the next. If it’s bit long winded or overly described that’s fine, you can always fix that in the revisions. Now, in the middle of camp might not be the best time to figure out your world building if its a bit lacking.

If it is lacking, what I would recommend is at least try to make sure your characters are grounded. In any given chapter or scene the things you should try to mention are the time of day, whether it’s inside or outside, and if they are coming or going from the place. Not all of these need to be mentioned all the time, and definitely not all at once. It should be more organic than that, just like describing your character.

 

Atmosphere and Tone.

Another thing to consider is  how your environment reflects the characters or plot. A character who is sad or angry wouldn’t likely be sitting in  a park on a bright sunny day. If they are, there should be a reason, and at the least the cheery environment should be used as a contrast to the emotion the scene is trying to convey. Similarly, if your in a place that a character frequents often, such as their home it should reflect their personality. A busy, lazy person isn’t likely to have a neat and orderly house. Let the characters surrounding serve the story.

 

Relevance.

 Speaking of serving the story. The information you provide should be relevant in some way. When introducing elements of an environment, you don’t need to describe everything in the room. It so easy to get lost in trying to create a vision that in doing so we bog down the story with unnecessary detail that either slows the pace, or distracts from the things that really do matter in the story. This is particularly true when mentioning odd or otherwise memorable detail about a setting. For example, if you mention that a window is on the east of the house, the sunlight creeping through it in the morning better be important, or it better look out into someone else’s house. Otherwise maybe don’t even mention the window. Unless you need it as an escape route later on, then definitely mention it.

 

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