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Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Importance of Setting

Finally, a day without outside interruptions to writing! Spent most of the morning adding and reworking scenes to "Resistance," and it's approaching a major turning point. There's a lot of satisfaction in doing this, as I always did like the story line and the characters. Perhaps it will finally be published.

One problem I have encountered is the issue of creating the setting. Since it takes place in the not-too-distant future, I wonder if I have established that well enough. Enough advances in technology? Differences in society? If they are enough, are they too subtle? The set-up is what makes the conflicts possible, but if it isn't substantial enough for the reader to feel he or she is IN the story, it won't work.

An example of the importance of setting comes from a book I read long ago which did the job perfectly. "Lady," by Thomas Tryon, took place in a small New England town in the 1930's and 40's. That setting was vital to the secret the protagonist was about to uncover. When I read the novel, I was so swept up in the place and time that when the big reveal came, I was shocked. Yet if the story had been set forty or fifty years later, it wouldn't have been a shock at all. While I'm not out to deliver a shock like that in "Resistance," creating the proper setting is still crucial. Not just having the proper setting, but making sure the reader gets into it, surrounded by it, living in that world. If I can't succeed at doing that, then the story has no impact and might not even be understandable.

If there are any obstacles to this much-rewritten book seeing the light of day, it's this issue. Writing it takes long enough that it becomes difficult to gauge how I'm doing. Hopefully, all will become clear when I begin the editing process.

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