richard harland's writing tips

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The Elements

(Action, Setting, Dialogue, Thinking Inside)

 

 

Other Elements Topics

 

1.Action

3.Dialogue

4.Thinking Inside

 

 

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2. Setting

 

iv) DESCRIPTION INTERLEAVED

 

If setting moves into the foreground—as often in fantasy, where exotic buildings or natural marvels amaze the reader along with the characters—then it’s natural to give a whole long block of description. The description is interesting in its own right. But when setting is background, I like to spread it through the action and dialogue—a sentence here, a couple of sentences there, rarely more than a short paragraph at a time.

This keeps the story flowing along and also makes for more evocative description, I think. Brief images and momentary impressions are more vivid than long connected passages. Dust on a table … the delicacy of a gilt-rimmed porcelain cup … a reflection in a puddle—such quick brushstrokes flash unexpected pictures into the reader’s mind.

So then you have to find ways of working these snippets of description into the action.

cup puddle table- Dust on the table—when someone leans their elbows on it.


- The gilt-rimmed cup—when someone puts it down with a chink!


- The reflection in a puddle—when someone warns, ‘Watch where you step.

 

Smooth interleaving of setting and action—that’s the goal.

Generally, you’d aim to introduce the larger impressions of setting first, the tiny close-up details later.

 

 

OTHER SETTING TOPICS

 

(i) FACTS VERSUS IMPRESSION     

(ii) MISE-EN-SCENE 

(iii) WHAT WOULD YOU PERCEIVE?          

(v) WEATHERS & TIMES OF DAY

(vi) ADJECTIVES

(vii) THINKING THROUGH CONSEQUENCES IN FANTASY

(viii) MAKING IT FRESH IN FANTASY

(ix) PERMANENT CONDITIONS IN FANTASY

 

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Copyright note: all written material on this website is copyright
1997 - 2010 Richard Harland.