Setting Your Setting
A MESSY DESK - So you’ve gotten deep into your story. The hero is about to rush
in and rescue the maiden and become the greatest warrior of all time -- but where
are you? Sometimes your surroundings can give you the perfect edge or push you
off the side of it (which can’t feel to good). Before we begin, something needs
to be understood. There are two basic ways of writing your story-on the computer
and on by hand.
On the computer: My personal favorite way to write a story. No eraser
dust, no red marks, and unless you’re in the middle of a severe tornado it won’t
fly away in a gust of wind. It also takes up less space and saves trees. Also,
if you need some information on something, the computer is right there! The
main problem is, unless you are one of the lucky ones in possession of a laptop,
you can only write in one place. If you are curious as to why the heck that
matters, keep reading.
By hand: Writing by hand has its ups and downs. My main problem with
it is, as soon as you’ve written it, you have to go type it anyway in order
to send it in. It also hurts a bit for me because I’m one of those kids who
never learned to hold their pencil right. On the other hand, paper is incredibly
portable and you can write just about anywhere. Now the moment you’ve been waiting
for… the one that explains why the heck that matters!
Why where you write matters: Let’s just say you’re writing a story where
the characters are walking through the woods. To capture the true spirit of
walking through the woods you could take your pencil and paper along to the
nearest woody area and take a walk. You can then draw from that for description.
If you still want to stay at the computer, simulate a walk through the woods.
When I say this, I don’t mean bring a huge pile of leaves into your room and
grind them into the carpet. Odds are, it won’t help much and your mom will make
you clean it up. What I mean by simulate is dim the lights or imagine you are
walking through the woods. Sometimes, it’s best to wait for the setting to come
to you. If you are about to write a scene in the middle of a thunderstorm, write
yourself a little note on you composition and wait for the next storm to come
through before you begin that part.
Other factors of where you write: Music: These days, music is the general
basis of our lives. Very few of us can live with one day without hearing our
favorite song. So, naturally, we are all tempted to listen to music while we
write. But is this a good thing? It all depends. Think about what you are about
to write in your story. Then pop in some music that fits the mood. If the two
main characters are fighting, put in some loud music that your parents would
like to burn, but turn it down real quiet so it’s in the background and not
destroying your eardrums. If something sad is about to happen, put in some depressing
music. You get it. Just remember to keep the music in the background.
Inspiration: If a particular item inspired you to write what you are
writing, keep it nearby if possible. If it was on Neopets, print out the page.
If it is something you can’t keep handy, take a picture of it.
Comfort: If there is a particular item in the room you are going to
write in that you despise, take it out. But if it is your little brother or
sister, do it nicely. You don’t need them pounding at the door while you’re
trying to get the brave warrior to rescue the maiden. If there is something
that you just love, like a lava lamp or some other random item, take it with
you. Well, not outside. I don’t think you can plug a lava lamp into a potato,
but I suppose it’s worth a shot. You get the idea. Another helpful thing is
brain food. Grab some chips, ice cream, whatever-but make sure you won’t screw
up your keyboard with it. In other words, nachos and greasy foods are out of
the question. A full stomach always helps the writer’s mind flow. Also, placing
a cushion or two on your chair adds comfort. Another nice thing would be to
take a trip to a store that sells candles, pick out your favorite scent, and
burn it while you write.
Distraction: No matter how much you love your Furby, it shouldn’t watch
you write. Sorry, but it will just distract you. Non animated stuffed animals
are fine, they don’t turn on and get annoying. Procrastination is the main reason
for someone not to write a story when they really do. When you’re distracted
you find a reason to procrastinate. Another painful thing in this area is instant
messaging. When writing your story be sure you are signed off. It’s taken me
an extra two hours to finish this because of that. If you have a favorite computer
game, keep it out of your sight until you’re done.
Revising: Yes, revising is almost as important as writing the story
itself. When you revise, you make your story flow better, make the story itself
better, and correct misspelled words. When you revise, make sure you are revising
on a hard copy. A hard copy means it’s on paper. It really doesn’t take that
much effort to click ‘print’ and it adds to the benefits of making your story
better. Anyway, seat yourself in your favorite spot-sprawled out on your bed,
or maybe on the comfiest sofa in the house. Just grab a hard surface (a tablet,
for example) and read over your work, mouthing the words or reading them aloud.
Try to keep the T.V. off (distraction!). Get your favorite snacks as needed
(go easy on the junk food-I’m not planning on writing an article on the best
diets) and get revising!
Well, there you have it. I hope you now know how to keep yourself in a comfortable
setting while writing.