Monday, December 2, 2013

Setting . . . a guest writing post by Rebekah M.

Welcome to the second element of a good fiction story: THE SETTING
I'm happy to encore Rebekah M. as a guest writer for today's blog. And thankfully, she has supplied pictures too! Thank you, Rebekah!

 In a story, any story, you must have your characters, but you also must have a setting. Have you ever watched a movie where there were characters but no background at all? The people just moved around and sat on nothing (since there wasn’t any chair pictured) and drove away in air? I never have. I think it would get dull really quickly. Maybe you don’t notice the background, but if it wasn’t there, boy would you notice!

But, what is a setting? Well, let me ask a few questions: 
-   Where did the story take place? 
-   What was the place like? 
-   Are there lots of houses or is it out in the country? 
-   Is the house old and small or fancy and huge? 
-   Is it morning, midday or night? 
-   Is it historical, present-day, or set in the future?
young children's stories, you have that information usually in pictures. But in older books the places and settings are described using "word" pictures. Some people dislike any and all descriptions. Others love it. I am one who likes it if it doesn't go on and on for pages. That gets tiring. I like to be able to picture in my mind where the characters are and what it is like around them. That is why, if you read the stories on my blog, you will notice that almost every story has descriptions. Descriptions are also like
glue. They help hold the story together. If you have a story that is all action, you rapidly lose the feeling of connectedness (if that is a word). Maybe you don't want too much description all the time, but at least set the stage (as it were) and make a scene change now and then, or put a few words about what is going on around the characters. It would be really boring to watch that movie with the nondescript background all the time, wouldn't it?

Don't panic yet! I am not going to make you write a description of where your characters live and things like that. We are just going to practice our “descriptional” abilities. Use strong words to paint a picture in the reader's mind with your words. Think about what you see, what you "feel," and what you "hear." Do you smell anything? Is the scene relaxing and enjoyable, or is there something tense and strange going on? 

Five pictures are sprinkled throughout this post. I didn't take the photos; they are from a calendar. Some calendar pictures can spark really interesting stories. For example, my western story, “The Unexpected Request,” began with just a thousand words written about one picture! 

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to write a paragraph describing one of the pictures her on the blog post. You can make the paragraph as long or as short as you want, so long as it is at least five sentences long. Your goal is to paint a word picture so vivid that the rest of us can "see" your scene without looking at the pictures. The pictures are numbered, so we can all "guess" just by reading which scene you are describing. Sound fun? 
Note from Mrs. M: You may also insert your character into the scene if that helps "connect" the scene to the storyline.

Below is a word picture I wrote as an example. Your descriptions don't have to match mine, nor do they need to be as detailed. I just happen to really like describing things and trying out new ways to tell about something. 

Red. It was all around. Wispy clouds blanketing the sky were glowing with it; the fields stretching out behind the ranch were aflame; even the distant hills appeared hazy with a hint of crimson. Only the southwestern horizon relieved the feeling that the world was on fire. There, the strip of brilliant, white sky, which almost hurt one's eyes to look at, hung suspended beneath the yellow-tinged, burning clouds. Black fence posts stood in the foreground like sentinels silently silhouetted against the scarlet pasture. Swaying the grasses, the evening breeze felt warm, bringing no relief from the oppressive summer heat.

 You can read my (Mrs. M's) scene in the first comment! (Can you guess which picture I described?)
 photo MrsM_zpsa9f216b8.png


  1. The hot sand caked between my toes as I made my way up and over the last dune. Sea grass cut my legs, but the pounding surf drew me ever onward. Finally, I stood at the top of the sand dune and gasped. Stretched out under the bright dome of the sky, the sea met the horizon in a mass of dark, turquoise blue. I tumbled down the sea side of the dune and raced to the shore just as a wave crashed. A spray of salty drops splashed my cheeks. The wave receded, leaving white foam behind. The foam bubbled over the sandy, orange beach then slipped back into the sea. I shaded my eyes and glanced south. Just above the grassy dunes, a lighthouse stood like a sentinel, ready to bring ships home safely through a foggy, storm-tossed sea. Under today’s sunny skies, however, the lighthouse appeared abandoned and lonely.

    ~Mrs. M

    1. You described the second picture!

    2. ooo! Now I want to go to the beach!

  2. that IS a good thing for story's to have :)

  3. Emma sat down and drank in the silent beauty around her. The trees were laden heavily with snow and a gentle wind whispered through their branches. The sun shone brightly and reflected with a harsh glare on the snowy world, blinding the eyes of those who looked upon it. A little way off, an old tunnel crossed a frozen stream. Yes, on a day like this is was hard to believe that anything in the world was less then perfect. Yet, even harder, to believe the words she had heard from her father only thirty minutes earlier.

    Okay, here's my description! What do y'all think?

    1. Picture #1, and I think it's great!

    2. Oops! I thought the snow bridge was picture #1. That's what I get for not looking at my own post before commenting. LOL

  4. I liked both of those descriptions! :) I felt warm when I read the first one but chilly and cold when I read yours, Jesseca. It's fun to read someone else's description of scenes I wrote about and described in my story. :)

  5. Rebekah, you described #5. Great post!
    ~ JT

  6. the water was glittering reflections in the daylight
    the grass was a light color in the spring
    Susie wished she could swim but it was too cold mountains in the background were tall and short a lovely sight!
    which one am i describing?!

  7. Galloping along the new grass, spring was now here. As black as midnight, and as brown as dirt the two horses were enjoying there life. Surrounded in a fence of painted white,with lovely green trees behind that cruel ugly fence. they raced on, soon they come to that fence. Up up and over. Away from those restrictions, free.
    I hope you enjoy it

  8. Did you guys get my conin that said I'm sorry for telling you your story was bad and I never will agen
    I was bully 101
    I was being bullied so I was mad and needed to get out my madness so I'm so sorry

    1. Sure! I forgive you! I hope you stop being bullied soon. It's NO fun :(
      But, just out of curiosity, did you enjoy the story or did you think it needed some help?

  9. The world was painted in thick whiteness. The branches hung soo heavy with the snow that I was sure that they would break. A train tunnel sat over a frozen river, but in the stillness, no train whistle could be heard. The cold air burned your lungs as you breathed, yet it was very refreshing. It was as if the world were asleep, yet, you could tell the world would spring to life in a month or two.

    1. Great job at describing the quietness of the winter day of picture #3. :)

    2. #3--"painted in thick whiteness." Nice word picture!

  10. Lizy
    I forgive you. I hope you being bullied stops soon.

  11. She walked along the sparkling blue beach, a gentle breeze was playing with her long blond hair. Cassandra gazed at the tall light house in the distance. Why did it have to happen to her? Wasn't losing her father enough? She thought.
    I did #2

    1. Yep! #2, and it is lovely. A good story opener.

    2. Nice Job Jenelle....

  12. Reneé tumbled to a stop in the tall lush grass as the first glimpse of the Stillwalkie mountain, speckled with bits of snow, stood towering over her dream meadow. She sat back on her heals in complete awe as her breath was near squeezed out of her lungs at the mere beauty, rich, and vibrant colors that splashed before her very eyes. Sunlight flooded the canyon and west side of the Stillwalkie mountain and reflected it's self into the glossy lake below. A few trees doted the grassy meadow and a small break in the over cast clouds, made a lovely blue puddle in the rippling lake. Reneé's playfully little brother, brought his galloping pony to an abrupt stop when he saw the gorgeous lake nestled quietly in tall grass, like a jewel in a king's crown. He gaped for a moment then smiled, "Com' sis! I'z done want'n swim in dat dare wadder." I had to agree it did look might refreshing.

    Guess which one I chose:)
    This is fun.
    P.S. I made up the name for the mountain. lol I don't know the real name.

    1. #1 and I like your sprinkling of dialect at the end! Oooh, I sense a story coming on. :-)

    2. Very well done, Faith! I could see the setting in my mind as I read. :)

    3. hahah good:) I messed up a few times, but hey it's alright...


Let Andi know what you think!