Any tips on how to work a description of a setting into a novel?
I just started writing a book and some of my friends and family who've read it so far say that I need to work better on describing the setting or scene. How would I go about doing that?
One of the best ways to learn to do that is to read someone who is a master at it, like Stephen King. Or pick a favorite author and reread the book with a critical eyes. I look at good novels and how-to text books.
Look at chapter one, how long does it take for the characters to be introduced. How does the author describe a room, how many words does he/she use?
One thing I like to do is open the chapter with a description:
The room was warm, and the dark carpet seemed to add to the heat. The walnut rocker leaned at an awkward angle, with John's heavy coat hanging off the back setting it off balance.
You get the idea--set the current novel aside and practice some passages and it will come naturally to you. Close your eyes and be in the scene, and see what details are there.
Try to involve the five senses in your descriptions, but don't break the narrative to insert a paragraph or two just describing the scene. Interweave it as the character would experience things, a sensation at a time. Like, a WWII soldier in Europe climbs a hill and sees smoke from distant charred buildings in the middle of untouched ones. He trudges closer for 15 minutes, along some well-appointed, cobblestoned European streets with signs in French. There are no people, no sound. Soon he reaches the burned out buildings. He can hear the crackle of small fires. "A stray bomb?" he thinks, "Oh, I hope it wasn't one of ours." Then the putrid smell of a corpse hits him -- and a tiny child's voice coming from somewhere saying, "Maman! Maman!"
Thanks for the answers both will help me with my writing Pierre that's how I was thinking of intermingling the scene with the story, it would seem to blocky to me to just describe the scene then start telling the story thanks for the helpful tip. Duff I'll take your advice because I love to read so I might as well study the works of some of my favorite authors and see what I can gain from them.
Intentionally go overboard with details (you can clean it up later). Don't just describe what you see, but also what you hear, feel, and even taste. For example, you can say that you are by a sea, and it is deep blue and pretty. Or, you can say you look out at the vast, empty ocean, as seagulls cry overhead and the delicate taste of salty seawater brushes your tasebuds in the wind. It seems overly dramatic, but it gives the reader a clearer understanding of your vision. Include all of the 5 senses, not just vision
Reading a book in the same genre as your book is the best way to get an idea.
A prime example of how to do scenery descriptions well, can be read in any Stephen King book. That guy rights some very detailed descriptions.
Essentially, you got to work with two main senses. Eyesight and hearing. Sometimes, touch and smell when necessary. It should also try to evoke an emotional response from the narrator or character(s).
Of course, I wouldn't worry about this too much, until your finished your rough draft. Also, I don't recommend letting people read an unfinished manuscript.
Finish your rough draft first. Once done, you can fix descriptions and any other errors. Then, let proofreaders and editors go over that draft to find errors missed.
Take a break and read some novels from great writers like Saul Bellow. The more you read, the more you'll think and write in a literary context.
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