But those are the obvious traces. Others require a closer look. Consider the common rock pile. In the Uwharrie Mountains, the piles are favorite haunts of timber rattlesnakes drawn to the heat of sun-drenched cairns of quartz. Once you see a rock pile in this new light, you might discover more clues to the inhabitants of your favorite woods.
A deep, dry gully is likely the remnant of some steep, eroded field ditch. Follow it uphill, and you might find a homestead oak. Up came the conifers, straight as a split log. A stand of multiflora rose could mark an old vegetable garden hedgerow. Look carefully at the base of big trees for the glint of an old Mason jar, or the shard of a broken dinner plate brought up from the soil like a shell tumbled to the beach. Here a comfy, nondescript flat becomes a frightening place, just because of what else is going on. Go for unfamiliar angles that add drama and excitement to your work.
You know the way that a place can turn on you? So for example a place that seems safe can suddenly reveal some other side, seem menacing, then almost try to harm the character. The inciting incident can be tiny — discovering that a photo frame has been moved, for example.
Having your characters voice their perceptions of a place in dialogue also adds to its dramatic impact, because now the reader sees place both through the eyes of a narrator and through the eyes of the characters themselves. Good, huh? Do you need more help? Did you know we have an entire video course on How To Write? You can find out more about our club here. Remember: we were founded by writers for writers — and we created this club for you. Do find out more.
My First Day At The Forest
Stephenie Meyer, when writing Twilight , decided she needed a rainy place near a forest to fit key plot elements. Like protagonist Bella, she was raised in Arizona, but explained the process of setting Twilight in an unfamiliar setting on her blog :. For my setting, I knew I needed someplace ridiculously rainy. I turned to Google, as I do for all my research needs, and looked for the place with the most rainfall in the U. This turned out to be the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. I pulled up maps of the area and studied them, looking for something small, out of the way, surrounded by forest.
The Quileute story is fascinating, and a few fictional members of the tribe quickly became intrinsic to my story. You are doing the research, because that research may inspire and stimulate a set of ideas you might not have ecountered otherwise. The key thing is to do your research to nail specifics, especially if they are unfamiliar, foreign, exotic. It was still early in the evening when we emerged onto a street in Tsukiji, near the fish market.
Note this same thing with foods: in Japan, your protagonist could well be eating miso soup, as per Ryu Murakami. Alternatively, if you are setting something in the past, get your sense of place right by doing your research right, too. Good writers will, in overt or gently subtle ways, introduce a place-as-character.
If that character is dangerous, for example, then simply describing a place adds a layer of foreboding, foreshadowing, to the entire book. Just read how J. Just weave place and action together like this to create atmosphere, excitement, tension, foreboding. A bad description will typically use boring nouns or things in settings, i. If you try to fluff up that by throwing in adjectives i. We sense Offred counting the few things she has in the little room she calls hers, the window and chair, etc.
We sense her tension, her dissociation, and we feel trapped with her. All the same, play with nouns, with taking your readers to new surroundings. Give them a Moloko. Play with surroundings, how you can make them different, how you can render the ordinary extraordinary. Harry Bingham has been a professional author for twenty years and more. More about Harry , more about his books.
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Redraft your manuscript like a pro, with this easy guide. How to write descriptions and create a sense of place. But it gets harder than that.
Describing A Forest | Best Descriptive Writing Sites
No so easy, huh? Free plotting worksheets. Step 1: Start early Set the scene early on — then nudge. So start early.
One paragraph early on, then nudge, nudge, nudge. Step 2: Be specific Details matter!
They build a sense of place like nothing else. In his world. In his village. Already excited to see what lies ahead. He could have written something like this: Macondo was a village of about twenty houses, built on a riverbank. It might be tempting to share every detail with us on surroundings. They want atmosphere. They want mood. Step 4: Write for all the senses You have a nose? So use it. So the place is influenced by action, once Anna notices: Reaching for the bedside lamp, she stopped and withdrew her hand. Descriptions as active characters You know the way that a place can turn on you?
Using unfamiliar settings adds real mood and atmosphere.
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