* setting

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 26, 2012

Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

  • many outstanding descriptions of places.
  • One of the best, of the villa M. Kercadious’ brother’s villa on the heights of Meudon, is combined with a political statement regarding the excesses of the nobility
    • “Andre-Louis crossed the threshold of that great room, softly carpeted to the foot, dazzling to the eye … immensely lofty … festooned ceiling … overwhelmingly gilded … what was customary in the dwellings of people of birth and wealth … Never, indeed, was there a time in which so much gold was employed decoratively as in this age when coined gold was almost unprocurable, and paper money had been put into circulation to supply the lack … if these people could only have been induced to put the paper on their walls and the gold into their pockets, the finances of the kingdom might soon have been in better case.”

Silence in Hanover Close by Anne Perry

  • “the curtains seemed to be without the usual faded marks which the sun so quickly made in blues, which meant they were not above a season old.”
  • this tells us about the place, the financial circumstances of the owner, and the perception of the viewer, all in one sentence.

Write Away by Elizabeth George

  • research and know each of the separate locations
  • use settings to create atmosphere, trigger mood
  • Show a character in his setting; the individual setting for each character
  • Setting can be a contrast to the events that occur within it
  • choose your settings so that each is a place that you want to know about
  • Writing about a place should involve all the sensory impressions
  • Rendering a setting requires details to bring it to life
  • Descriptions of place and character should be part of the narrative, accomplished without interrupting the flow
  • consider the concept of landscape, by which I mean the broad vista; not only the setting but also the emotions evoked by the setting
  • Invite the reader to own the landscape
  • Go to the place: see the land, the sky, climate, weather, sounds, scents, wildlife
  • the objective is to stimulate the reader’s senses and imagination

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