Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Instructor's feedback on setting

Here's what my instructor said about my submission:

We’ll be studying many of the elements of fiction in this course, but in this one, we’re looking at setting, how you integrate the details into the setting, and how you reveal your character interacting with the setting.

We meet up with Anne as she moves up the wide stone steps and into the old brick building. You show us the fading sunset. You’re doing great integrating the details into the setting so far. We see the rich dark wood and the thick brocade curtains. Once she turns on the lights, she sees the tables decorated with the red plastic cloths and the colorful Styrofoam hearts and curly ribbon. There’s the crepe paper ribbons and balloons. Very vivid.

Even when the dialogue starts, you use setting details—the creaking overhead. You want to appeal to as many of the reader’s senses as you can. You’ve shown us many of the physical items in this setting, and we can hear the creaking. What about smells? Does this old building smell at all? What can we reach out and touch?

This is exactly what we’re after in this scene. You’ve dropped your reader right into the middle of the setting with your character so that she can experience what they’re experiencing.

Those of you who mentioned the smell and touch thing were spot on and my revisions will reflect this, but I feel pretty good about it even though I discovered there were about 20 more pages of homework reading I didn't do because I neglected to click on the little button at the top of the page that listed the supplemental reading. OOPS! I printed it out and intend to read it tonight before beginning the next section - Character Building. Hope that doesn't have anything to do with me personally. I think I'm enough of a character as is.


Holly Kennedy said...

Interesting post.
Great feedback, too!

Inviting all the senses into the reading experience often takes a lot of work from the author. I fail miserably in this area and often have to go back and refocus my efforts :)

Holly Kennedy said...

*head shake*
My blog roll is sadly out of date.
Just added yah!

The Anti-Wife said...

Maybe you fail during your initial drafts, but your final manuscripts certainly don't lack any details. You're probably the only person who every notices it.

ChristineEldin said...

Thanks for sharing your instructors' feedback. This sounds like a great course!!!

Trée said...

AW, sounds like you have a very wise and loving instructor. And I love descriptive writing, he says, bowing before his statue of Dickens. :-D

Travis Erwin said...

Looking forward to the character building discussion. That is my favorite facet of writing fiction.

I added you to my blog roll as well.

Demon Hunter said...

Thank you for sharing your instructor's feedback. This is so useful with my own writing! Great post! :*)

The Anti-Wife said...

The reading has been very helpful so far. Always glad to share.

Dickens is one of my favorite authors. You obviously have good taste.

Ello said...

Great feedback! And now you will have to tell us about the reading and share if it is any good!

The Anti-Wife said...

This is an area in which I need help, so am looking forward to it.

Always glad to share.

The Anti-Wife said...

I'll share what I can. A lot of it says specifically not to reproduce it in any form.

ORION said...

good post! all senses... most people just rely on sight but there is taste, feel, smell AND balance too...Oh and my blog roll is seriously out of date LOL

WriterKat said...

Nice feedback. What a great way to learn with such close supervision.

My problem tends to be just getting right into the story and not really describing it. I don't stay with the scenes the way I would like. So you've given me a writing exercise to work with.

Looking forward to the next installment... The course sounds great. I'm going to think about adding a course to my list of not too far in the future endeavors.

Mary Witzl said...

I'm enjoying this vicariously, and I too will keep following your progress. I ought to be doing something like this -- I've needed it for quite some time.