Thursday, October 21

Finding the Magic

I wish I had a go-to place for setting the scene. It'd make things so much easier for me.
But, I don't. I let the characters take me where the book should go and sometimes I get hung up along the way.

Recently I wrote a carnival scene. In my head I envisioned a surreal scene like something out of the movie "Big Fish". But I didn't get that across at all. My character is a transplanted Portland boy who is supposed to be enthralled by this small carnival. Never mind that Portland has the two week Rose Festival along Waterfront Park. I needed to make the Cypher carnival something so special he'd forget the big city spectacle he'd grown up with and be immersed in the small town atmosphere. I needed to bring the magic, and I didn't.

And it's so important to get those things across, to take your readers to a place maybe they've never been to before. I'm pretty sure nobody's ever been to Cypher, Indiana since I made it up.
But just because I made it up doesn't mean I don't have to sell it. I need to make my readers believe that it actually exists or could actually exist. I need to make it real and that's where setting comes in.

And that's my struggle.


  1. Sometimes it's super hard to get what's in your head on the paper! You can see it so clearly, and when you write it you say yes, that's it! The someone else reads it and says huh?
    If only they could see into your that's a discovery for another day!


  2. I think you guys have caught me on this a few times - you assume that whatever's in your head is automatically on the paper. Such an easy slip to make! Don't worry, you'll fix it in no time.

  3. Margie~
    You have built a completely fictional world that we all buy into so much that I get mad at Bix as if he were a real boy (today's crit). Ok, I need meds LOL, but you haven't had any trouble with world buidling!

  4. I just wanted an excuse to post a picture of Ewan McGregor..LOL...although, really that is what I want my carnival to look like...magic...

  5. Getting description right is a toughy -- especially for setting -- because, as Carrie said, you can see it so clearly in your head! When I'm reading through a scene where setting is pivotal, I keep my senses sheet handy so I can check off -- they heard X, they see Y, they feel/smell/etc...

  6. Kristi,
    you have a senses sheet???? Can you send me a copy?

  7. What Carrie said--again. I know what I'm trying to say; why don't you? :-)