Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Where Are We? (Version 2)
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Prepared by: Carter Jefferson
Posted on Sunday, June 24, 2007
Posted on Sunday, June 28, 2009
Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2014
Revised and Posted on Sunday, April 3, 2016
Posted on Sunday, October 22, 2017
Exercise: In 400 words or less, write a portion of a story or memoir that clearly
portrays the setting and its importance to the events that will follow. Your
characters should show us the surroundings in which they act.
Readers need to visualize the setting of a drama for successful plot
development. The location or setting of a story affects the
characters’ behavior. For example: At a solemn church service, the
worshipers sit quietly and listen; at a rowdy football game, the crowd
is restless and raucous; in a busy city mall, shoppers browse around
the merchandise and chat companionably.
Some writers introduce the setting for their story in the first
paragraph. Others gradually reveal the setting as the narrative moves
along. Whatever an author’s choice for location revelation, he or she
must provide sufficient descriptive details to support the plot, but
without distracting the reader from the story line.
It's advisable to restrain from composing a big complex setting in the
intro. Be subtle. Sip in details in small doses, as the plot
progresses. Try different things -- a variation of sight, smells and
sounds, and see which combo best fits your story line.
Exercise: In 400 words or less, create a realistic setting for a story
or memoir. Use the characters’ sensory clues to immerse the reader in
the scene. Make your story’s “backdrop” come alive.
In your critique, consider: were you able to clearly visualize the
story’s setting? Did you picture the characters in action on this
“stage?” What role did the setting play in the plot? Could other
details have been added to improve the scene? And, as always, critique
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