My husband and I love to go for drives. We have lived in Montana now for ten years, and we are doing our best to see all the parts we can. Yesterday, we decided late in the day to go exploring in a canyon pretty close to home. We drove up the South Boulder River south of Cardwell.
Our air right now is extremely smoky from all the fires blazing high in the mountains. The smoke added quite a foreboding feel to the spectacular scenery. it settles in among the pines, making silhouettes, and eerie movement.
I was reminded how important creating a vivid setting is in my writing. Sometimes I get so caught up in plot crafting and character deepening, that I forget how easily the setting can influence both. How would my character feel about the smoke everywhere? Would they sense the foreboding? What could that be foreshadowing?
Along the drive, we did see some pretty remarkable sights. There were high mountains, layers of trees stretching for miles, rocky cliffs, and meandering rivers. We live in an incredibly varied, beautiful place. We also saw two bull moose and a cow, a bunch of white tail deer, four wild turkeys, and a pair of pheasants. How would my character have responded to those sights? The towering rocky cliffs, or abundant wildlife? So much of what our brains view as common, the reader's brains need to absorb as vital.
So today I'm thinking about setting. Have I used it to the fullest extent? Have you?
Writing for children is a passion - along with reading kid's books, writing plays for kids, and teaching kids how to write!