Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Setting and Background in Fiction (Part 8 of 8)

Don't underestimate the importance of place and time. I call them the grounding factors. Two questions we don't want readers to need to ask are (1) Where is this taking place? (2) What's the time period?

Suppose I have a story in which a young woman wants to make a favorable impression on a sailor on leave whom she invited for dinner. She picks tomatoes and carrots from her victory garden before she stares at her ration book to see if she has enough points for a roast.

I haven't specifically given you time or place, but you've probably sensed this is World War II (victory garden and ration book). The other implication is that it's in a city or a town.

Good writing implies more about setting than it tells.

1 comment:

  1. Rats! I was hoping you'd ask at the end what era it was, and let us guess. I do love a question at the end.

    My Daddy and step-dad both served in WWII. My step-dad was on the U.S.S Arizona at the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It choked me up to stand in front of the Memorial to it in San Francisco and have him show us the names of his buddies who were killed that day...

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