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Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 32: Mapping Out Writing Time: Create a Great Setting and Sunday Winners

A few people participated in yesterday's spontaneous It's a Sunday, Daylight Savings Time, Rainy Day Organizing and Writing Challenge Kind of Day. Thanks for being my challenge buddies! I used the opportunity to create a nice study area for the kids.

We live in a modest-sized home, built in the 1950's, before family rooms became the norm. I must admit, there are times I've complained to my husband about how we need to move--the house is too small for us--and he laughs. He likes to remind me how I fell in love with our neighborhood the first time I saw it, even insisting we put an offer on our house, sight unseen.

It's true.

I didn't care to see the inside of our home. My husband knew the family who owned the house. He'd been in the house plenty of times, so he knew what the house looked like. It needed a lot of work anyway, and if you knew what my old house looked like before we bought it, you'd know miracles can be rendered with hard work.

The thing is, we've lived in the house five years, and I've yet to make our house into a comfortable home. The bathrooms are original to the house (with colors I can't figure out how to match); the kitchen is still stuck in the 1980's with a 1970's formica wall (remember The Brady Bunch kitchen wall?). Add to this equation a living room that functions as a romper room/tv room, a dining room that functions as an eating area/office/paper catch-all and it's easy to see I'm no Martha Stewart.

Martha would know exactly how to organize and design the inner workings of my house so we could be efficient, neat and elegant. Me...well...not so much.

But, 2010 is a new year and back in January, I decided to stop whining about how the house didn't work for us and focus on creating spaces my family could enjoy. There's not much I can do to change the bathrooms and kitchen until we save more money, but as far as the ambiance, the comfort and utility of our home, that's something I can control.

My house is a work-in-progress. I've been decluttering, organizing, and cursing under my breath these past couple months, but it's definitely worth it. And the homework area! My kids were in shock yesterday and Spy Girl smiled. Not bad for my reluctant learner.

This all reinforced to me how important the setting is to the story. Most of us concentrate on our characters and plot, and think of the setting in an offhand manner. But remember, the setting helps make your story believable. It brings detail so your characters and plot come to life. Create a great setting and your story will thrive.

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And now to announce the winners from the It's a Sunday, Daylight Savings Time, Rainy Day Organizing and Writing Challenge Kind of Day. Drumroll...

Jeannine and Mike--you won! Send me your snail mail address to me at hipwritermama at comcast dot net and let me know your 1st and 2nd choices. I'll do my best to get you what you'd like.

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Write-a-Scene Writing Prompt: Work on your setting for a scene in your manuscript. What will help bring it to life? Is the weather unusual? The town? The environment? The smells? The geography? Put your setting under a microscope and watch for the little details. If you're writing fantasy, your setting is absolutely critical to your world-building. Be sure to pay extra attention.

How was your weekend?

5 comments:

adrienne said...

I have been on this same kind of a kick with my house (can't do a darned thing with the bathrooms, but by golly, I can organize the place and make it more user-friendly). I feel kind of overwhelmed sometimes when I start thinking about doing things to my house because it seems like SO DARNED MUCH, but really what I need to do is remember to focus on some kind of smaller task--not the house as a whole.

I have your Formica wall beat, though--I have a CORK wall. In a room with red shag carpet.

Vivian said...

Adrienne,
You're cracking me up with the cork wall. You're right about working on smaller tasks. It's hard to remember when there is so much I want to change. But, I'm finally coming to terms with the baby steps. Good luck with your projects!

KID LIT WRITERS said...

What a great post. It's true that setting drives our plot and characters more than we realize. It is the frame for the picture and so important to develop in any story. Good luck with your own home projects!

Heather Zundel said...

I love what you say about setting being equally important to your story, Vivian. It makes the world lush and rich. Setting is like adding salt to any recipe - it enhances the flavor and deeps all the existing flavors already there. Yay to setting, I say!

Vivian said...

Welcome, Kid Lit Writers! Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks, Heather!