Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Settings, Seasons and Sensibility Create a Lasting Sense of Place

Details make the setting
Falling leaves, the scent of wood smoke, the feel of snow in the air yearning for a mug of apple cider yet? There's nothing like grounding prose in a season and sensory details to create a sense of place that draws readers in.

Even if you're not from New England, or the U.S., you might guess that the opening phrase typifies a region that celebrates autumn. If I were writing about an area where autumn is more austere, Scandinavia, for example, I'd describe the slant of the sun setting early on a windswept landscape. Can you tell I've been watching Wallander?

Writers imbued with a strong sense of place a phenomenon frequently found in those uprooted early in life from a place they felt was home often instinctually include sensory details. The key is to use spare, precise language. Note that the opening description, short as it is, includes at least three of the five senses. It's also key to use details that exemplify the area you're describing.

Seasons evoke memory, stoke the senses and create memorable settings. They decorate stories as you'd decorate your home, with originality and a unique identity.

What part of the world evokes your most vivid memories?

Happy writing!

For more tips, visit Word for Words, or visit Adele's blog.

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