Shel Silverstein

If you are a dreamer, come in

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

a hope-er a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...

If you are a pretender, come sit by my fire

For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.

Come in! Come in!

Nov 18, 2011

Setting up my Setting

Intro to a world that is just like your own--the only exception being, this extremely attractive and skinny young lady-spy can defy the laws of physics and beat up men ten times her size and she feels no emotions. No day she gets shot threw the heart and dies, her boyfriend is very sad and has this monologue about how wonderful she is.

'I know I said this world was just like ours with only one exception but I kind of feel bad for killing of this lovely lady and making her soul mate sad, so this spy can also come back to life at will'. The lady-spy comes back to life. With the bad guys all permanently dead she and her soul mate hope off to a happy ending.

Sound familiar? It should, this concept that only the good guys can regenerate has plague Hollywood for quite sometime now. This notion totally cheapens death and self sacrifice. What is so heroic about giving up yourself to save another when a couple of tears bring you back to life? In itself the concept is annoying but if worked properly it can be surprisingly plausible.

Not that I plan on bringing anyone back from the dead...oh wait that's how the story starts off ^_^
But you know what I mean.

When you're writing a story you see a wonderful world, the world you've created full of infinite possibilities. However, when you're reading a story you're hearing about a world that can only do what the author says it can do. If I tell a story, without mentioning a pink toothbrush then no one will ever know the lady-spy owns a pink toothbrush. It's not part of the setting and also not that important...unless it was the continued use of that pink toothbrush which saved her life.

When you're writing you find yourself very often putting yourself in the spot of the reader. Trying to see it from their eyes. If you're engaging the reader in your story and they are bound by the rules of your world it is only fair that you're bound by the rules too. They are your rules after all, if you don't like them change them but for goodness sakes follow the ones you keep.

This often leads to the trouble of being too blunt about the fact that she can come back to life. 'I don't want the audience to think about that fact until it happens.' It is often the case that if you mention the fact before it is needed people tend to guess the twist or it becomes irrelevant and boring. To solve this, it is best to write down a list of things that, for the readers sanity, must be included. Then the task is to subtly, slip them in at similar or scenes or in a casual conversion. Like so:

Lazy worker: "Hey, Newbie look busy."
Sheepish Intern: "why? whats happening?"
Lazy worker: "Kristen Paulson, that's what! That girl is mean, has a heart of steel. I heard she got shot straight through the heart and stood right up afterwards and walked away."
Sheepish Intern: "No way! your joking!"
Lazy worker: "I wouldn't put it passed her."

So you get the gist. The setting is the most important part of your story so plan and describe it wisely because once you set the rules you too must live by them and you can't break them or else you'll end up with the ending to The Sorcerers Apprentice.
Not attractive.



  1. Fantastic analysis, and comparison between writing and reading. Some how the writer has to convey what he/she sees in his/her mind out into a scenery or action or emotion so when some one reads it, they can also see it, hear it, and feel it too.

  2. Love the photos. Where do you get them from.

    I'm blogging tomorrow on the Querytracker blog about believability. I love your take on it. Make sure you set up the rules and abide by them. If you don't, I won't read your next story.

  3. I got these from flickr. Where exactly? I'm not sure that's why they're not linked. Mostly I get my pictures from Devaintart though.

  4. Beautiful inspirations! love the jump shot photo! looks magical! love it!


  5. Hello there sweetie! Thanks for the lovely comment over my blog, it means a lot to me!
    You have these inspiring posts with inspiring pics! I really love that! Great job!

    Hope you're having a great day!

    My cooking blog, support me:

    xoxo Kiki

  6. You always offer such wonderful writing advice! :)

  7. I have always felt that the mark of a good story is its ability to transport me physically, emotionally and mentally. Great advice on how to get a reader there.

  8. Very true- if words take you to another place you don't want to return from, then the writer is very good!

  9. So true! I love what you said about creating the rules then following them. I think it applies to all writing principles.

  10. yes, good advice/thoughts on writing!

  11. I love great description of setting, it's one of the greatest pleasures of reading. Love your post!

    xo Mary Jo

  12. Where you set yourself is important too. Travel for me is wonderful to remind you of this. Xxxx

  13. Great advice.
    Loving the pictures

  14. i just really like your blog and words!