Friday, May 13, 2011

Location, Location

Setting the scene is a common theme of many bloggers.  I always read those posts and usually find new ideas.  Setting helps set the mood for the conflict occurring in the scene. 

In my latest released fantasy novel, Beyond the Gate, the first third of the novel takes place underground in a long winding tunnel beneath a mountain.  The hero, Cage Stone, and heroine, Sabelline Shelton, are surrounded by darkness and solid rock.  How much mood setting can I do with that?

The two characters experience the dark differently.  To her the black is complete, the silence deafening.  To his superior eyesight, the path is revealed and the voice of the surrounding rocks speak quietly to him.  She feels the brooding presence of the massive mountain looming over their heads while he wonders how the wondrous cave was constructed. 

The cave's air varies from unwholesome and foul to cool and even refreshing.  The fell beasts hunting them make a variety of sounds and fill their air with foul odors. 

Hopefully the reader will understand something about the two characters as they experience the setting from their perspective.  Cage and Sabelline see the world through the lenses of their own personalities and quirks.

What is the most challenging setting you've had to describe?  Do you have an example of an exceptionally well set scene from something you've read?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Describing just about anything in my book is challenging. It was really difficult to describe inside one's mind though.
Cave scene sounds cool!

Cheryl Klarich said...

I love it when I feel like I'm there and that sense of place and time lingers in my memory. I think that is why reading takes you to a different place than even film. Though I do love movies...

I feel that cave!

Bluebell Books Twitter Club said...

your questions in the end of the post make me think.

I used to do mathematics at Ph. D level.

super difficult subject.
Glad to be free from that now.

enjoyed your talent.
check out short story slam and make a submission today.

Cate Masters said...

Uh oh, hope they're not claustrophobic like me! :) I love researching settings. Any city I haven't visited is a challenge to get details accurate, especially historicals.

Jemi Fraser said...

You do a wonderful job of creating a scene and a realistic world!

I'm planning to write a MG fantasy/sci fi on another planet. It's going to be fun, but it's going to be tough too!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I can't think of any examples off hand altho setting is an important factor in how I feel about a book. I love it when the mood is set through descriptive passages, and when it takes me to another place that seems real.

N. R. Williams said...

The most difficult scene for me was to describe the opulence of my castle to my heroine. The first draft was full of extensive description, too much. What finally helped was reading the book, The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood and watching the movie. In the movie when the girls go to a southern mansion, one room is full of decorate glassware on shelves, on tables, and in bookcases. The camera did a panegyric view of it. Similar to how I described the rooms in the castle. In the book this scene was one paragraph and a short one too.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

Anonymous said...

A parallel universe similar but not quite identical to our own. The trick here is to get people to like the new world. If they don;t like it, they will not care if the story and characters are great.

Susan Fields said...

I love when the setting is so unique and well drawn it becomes like a character in the book. I thought Shudder Island was like that.

Linda Leszczuk said...

I wrote a sci fi once set on a desolate little planet at the far end of nowhere. That was the most fun I ever had doing seting descriptions.

Christina Lee said...

YES!! Oh and Sense and Sensibility *sigh* that scene!!!