Writing the right amount of description to evoke a world where characters live and breathe can be a
bugaboo for writers. Either we put too
much setting in that has nothing to do with anything and the reader dozes off,
puts the book down (heaven forbid), or skips to where the story is unfolding. There’s
also the flip side of too much and that’s too little. This dilemma could lead
the reader to develop the Goldilocks’s syndrome, only reading books that are
just right. Heh. I wouldn’t blame them. Would you?
As a writer, I wanted to know how to write settings that
would drop my readers smack in the middle of a world they’ve never been to and never
want to leave. I was lucky to participate in a workshop taught by Mary Buckham
about writing active settings. She has a
busy schedule now and doesn’t teach as often. By busy, I mean, she’s writing
her own stories and being a USA bestselling and People’s Choice author. Yay! She’s walking the walk.
Anyway, she has a new print and ebook of “Writing Active Setting – The Complete How-To
Guide.” It’s a lifesaver for beginning,
as well as advanced writers. This has
all three of the Writing Active Setting books: Book 1 - Characterization and Sensory Detail, Book 2 - Emotion, Conflict and Back Story, Book 3 - Anchoring,
Action, as a Character and More. Plus
Mary has added bonus material all on hooks.
What I personally love about this complete guide is everything is in one
place. The real winner of the books are
the examples from a slew of well-known authors which Mary has deconstructed. Each line is analyzed, so you understand what
the author was going for. But she doesn’t
stop there, Mary writes a hypothetical first draft and a second draft that the
author might have started with, so you can see the progression. It makes it easy to grab hold of the concept and
learn how these great authors write active settings.
The following is from the book description of what you will
* Discover the difference between Ordinary Setting that bogs
down your story, and Active Setting that empowers your story.
* See how to spin boring descriptions into engaging prose.
* Learn to deepen the reader's experience of your story
world through sensory details.
* Notice how changing characters' POV can change your
* Explore ways to maximize the setting possibilities in your
* Learn to use Setting to quickly anchor the reader into the
world of your story.
* Use Setting as movement through space effectively.
* Explore Setting in a series.
* Find Out the most common Setting pitfalls.
These books go straight to the point, putting theory in
plain language, adding examples from authors in a variety of genres, and
finishes each section with exercises designed to help you work with your
Setting in a way that will excite you. . .and your readers!”
USA Today Bestselling author Mary Buckham credits her years
of international travel and curiosity about different cultures that resulted in
creating high-concept urban fantasy and romantic suspense stories. Her newest
Invisible Recruit series has been touted for the unique voice, high action and
rich emotion. A prolific writer, Mary also co-authors the young adult
sci-fi/fantasy Red Moon series with NYT bestseller Dianna Love.
Mary lives in Washington State with her husband and, when
not crafting a new adventure, she travels the country researching settings and
teaching other writers. Please visit
Mary's website for more information.
If you want to soar, I highly recommend “Writing Active
Settings – The Complete How-To Guide.” Do
you have a way of writing settings that you can share?
Till next time,