Expedia.com
Articles Files Videos Sites Bookstores Classes Categories Critique Services
Ads Blogs Donate
  •  
 
11.12.2012 01:35    Comments: 0    Categories: Writing Setting  Fiction Elements  Fiction Writing  Writing  Writing Craft      Tags: h. thomas milhorn  setting  genre  fiction  guide  craft  

Key Elements (From Chapter 1 of  Writing Genre Fiction: A Guide to the Craft by H.T. Milhorn)

 

To create a fictional world that seems real to readers, writers use a minimum of six key elements:

 

1. Plot, Story and Structure
2. Setting
3. Characters
4. Point of View
5. Prose
6. Theme and Subject

 

SETTING

 

The setting of a novel is the background on which the writer builds the plot and characters. It involves the entire environment: (1) time, (2) place, (3) experience, and (4) mood. Setting can be revealed through narration and dialogue and illustrated by the characters' actions, thoughts, and speech patterns.2,20-22

 

TIME is important to every story. Is it day or night? Is it just after the Civil War, during the great depression, or 50 years in the future? Does the story take place in New York City in 2006 or in New York City in 1880?

 

The year in which the story takes place is not the only temporal aspect of setting to consider. The time of year might change the physical setting—winter (snow, ice, leafless trees, and unbearable cold), fall (warm days, cool nights, and an array of color in the trees), spring (sun-shiny days, flowers in full bloom, and birds chirping). In general, the winter is a more gloomy time than other seasons of the year, but not always. Children laughing and frolicking in the snow is certainly a happy scene.2,20-22

 

PLACE includes the bigger picture (city, county, state, country) and the smaller picture (local businesses, places of residence and work, streets and avenues, and other local details). The place in which the story takes place may be real or fictitious.2,20-22

 

Setting is “seen” through a character’s EXPERIENCE. Different characters may perceive the same surroundings in very different ways based on their familiarity with the setting. A man from a small town in the Mississippi Delta who is visiting Brooklyn for the first time might describe it differently than a man who has lived there all his life.2,20-22

 

The MOOD or atmosphere of a story is the impression it creates and the emotions it arouses in readers. Writers create appropriate moods through their choices of specific details, images, and chosen words and phrases. The character’s five senses and the weather can be very helpful in establishing mood.

 

Filtering a scene through a character's feelings can profoundly influence what the reader experiences. For instance, the same setting may portray more than one mood depending on how the writer approaches it. A woman walking across a meadow may experience different feelings (happiness, sadness, anger, or fear) depending on the descriptive words the writer chooses to use.2,20-22

 

 

References


  1. Bishop, Leonard, Dare to be a Great Writer, Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, 1992.
  2. Silvester, Niko, Creative Writing for Teens, http://teenwriting.about.com/library/weekly/aa111102a.htm.
  3. Wayman, Anne, Craft v. Art, Romance Writing Tips, http://groups.msn.com/RomanceWritingTips/craftvart.msnw.
  4. Fiction Genre Definitions, Manus & Associates Literary Agency, http://www.manuslit.com/flash/index.html.
  5. Meinhardt, Shelly Thacker, Market Savvy for Fiction Writers: Popular Fiction vs. Literary Fiction, http://www.shellythacker.com/marketsavvy.htm, 2004.
  6. Zackheim, Sarah Parsons, and Adrian Zackheim, Getting Your Book Published For Dummies, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 2000.
  7. Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page.
  8. Brown, Dan, The Da Vinci Code, Doubleday, New York, 2003.
  9. Dibell, Ansen, Plot, Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, 1999.
  10. Elements of fiction, http://www.newton.mec.edu/brown/ENGLISH/eng_elements_of_fiction.html.
  11. Elements of fiction, VirtuaLit : Interactive Fiction Tutorial, http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/fiction/elements.asp.
  12. Kilian, Crawford, Advice on novel writing, http://www.steampunk.com/sfch/writing/ckilian/#6.
  13. Kittredge, Mary, Hot to Plot! A Plotting “System” that Works, In The Writer’s Digest Handbook of Novel Writing, Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, 1992, pp 56-61.
  14. Lake, Lori L., Plot: Part Two, Navigating dangerous terrain, http://www.justaboutwrite.com/A_Archive_Plot2LL.html, 2003.
  15. Swain, Dwight V., Techniques of the Selling Writer, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1974.
  16. Article: In the Beginning, Writing and Publishing, Suite101.Comhttp://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/novel_writing/18290/1.
  17. Kress, Nancy, Beginnings, Middles & Ends, Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, 1999.
  18. Hinze, Vickey, Exposition vs. Narrative, http://www.fictionfactor.com/guests/exposition.html.
  19. Rasley, Alicia, End Thoughts, Writers’ Corner, http://www.sff.net/people/alicia/art1.htm, 1997.
  20. Allen, Moira, Four ways to bring setting to life, http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/settings.shtml.
  21. Kay, Kim, It’s your world: Setting your novel: It’s Your Novel, Suite101.com, http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/novel_writing/13665/1, December 15, 1998.
  22. Kelman, Judith, How to write and publish a novel, http://www.jkelman.com/fiction/index.html.
  23. Bokesch, Laura, Literary terms, Literary elements, Academy of the Arts, http://www.orangeusd.k12.ca.us/yorba/literary_elements.htm.
  24. Masterson, Lee, Casting your characters, Fiction Factor, http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles/casting.html.
  25. Swain, Dwight V., Creating Characters, Writer’s Digests Books, Cincinnati, 1990.
  26. Character function, Basics of English Studies, http://www.anglistik.uni-freiburg.de/intranet/englishbasics/Character02.htm.
  27. Character in fiction and drama, http://www.ccsn.nevada.edu/english/lab/CHARACT.htm.
  28. Colburn, Jeff, Who Said That? First, Second or Third-Person Point of View, FictionAddiction.net, http://fictionaddiction.net/articles/contributed/colburnpov.html
  29. Novel, Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, 2003.
  30. Rosenberg, Joe, Choosing your storyteller, In The Writer’s Digest Handbook of Novel Writing, Ed. By Clark, Tom, William Brohaugh, Bruce Woods, Bill Strickland, and Peter Blocksom, Writer’s Digest Press, Cincinnati, 1992.
  31. Tritt, Sandy, Point of view and other devices, Elements of Craft, Inspiration for Writers, http://tritt.wirefire.com/tip9.html.
  32. Harris, Robert, A glossary of literary terms, VirtualSalt, http://www.virtualsalt.com/litterms.htm, January 4, 2002.
  33. Bickham, Jack M., The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes, Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, 1992.
  34. Marble, Anne M., Romancing the keyboard, Writing-World.com, http://www.writing-world.com/columns/romance/marble17.shtml, 2004.
  35. Schnelbach, S. and C. S. Wyatt, Tameri Guide for Writers, http://www.tameri.coml, March 14, 2005.
  36. Masterson, Lee, Writing dazzling dialogue, Sci Fi Editor, http://www.scifieditor.com/lee1.htm.
  37. Chiarella, Tom, Writing Dialogue, Story Press, Cincinnati, 1998.
  38. Milhorn, H. Thomas, Caduceus Awry, Writer’s Showcase, San Jose, 2000.
  39. Reuben, Paul, PAL: Perspectives in American Literature, Appendix G: Elements of Fiction, http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/append/AXG.HTML
 
Order by: 
Per page: 
 
  • There are no comments yet

Visit our online bookstores:

  1. Kindle's Free eBook Store
  2. Fiction Writer's Bookstore
  3. Romance Writer's Bookstore

 

Socialpolitan.org is in Association with Amazon.com

0 votes

iUniverse

Jobs from Indeed
Socialpolitan: Fiction Writing Gpix Advertising. Become A Pixel Owner. Learn how your ad could be here.



If this page has been of any value to you, we would appreciate if you help us by spreading the word. Join Fiction Writing Craft on Facebook Join Fiction Writing Craft on Twitter Follow Us

Please take a moment and vote for us at Writer's Digest 101 Best Writing Sites. Thanks!