Lauren Groff is the author of the seriously acclaimed short story collection Delicate Edible Birds and novel The Monsters of Templeton. Her second novel Arcadia dropped in March to raves. So we’re thrilled that she’s contributed today’s Daily Theme!
The prompt below from the glorious Groff focuses on the importance of setting. A good setting can draw a reader in just as much as a plot of character–think Hogwarts, or Middle-Earth. Lauren offers her advice on how to create a lively setting in more ways than one:
Figment Daily Theme–May 5, 2012
In the fiction I tend to reread again and again, setting is so important that it almost becomes a character in the story, with the same vibrancy and specificity that the characters share. There’s a writing prompt I love because it reverse-engineers place and turns the figurative character of a setting into a literal character.
Take a piece of writing that you’re having trouble with, and write your setting as a person. Would it be male or female, young or old, beautiful or homely? Ask yourself what the setting-as-character would love and what would it hate? What secrets does it have that no human knows about? It doesn’t matter if you write in first or third person, or at what point in history you begin to tell the tale, but tell your setting’s story as clearly and specifically as you can. When you go back to the original story, everything that you’ve learned about your setting will inform and deepen your narrative.
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