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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Strategy # 6 Homespun Locale

Build Your Story: 8 Strategies for Writing Innovative Setting with Impact

“You present your story in terms of things that can be verified by sensory perception. Sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch—these are the common denominators of human experience; these are the evidence that men believe.” Dwight V. Swain

 Introduction Local Influence

No sensory observation is considered complete until the fictional character’s emotional response is included. When eating new foods, or hearing new sounds, the concrete details help the reader recognize the character as more real as he reacts to the senses. Just as word choices need to be specific, so do the sensory details need to be definitive, externally as images and internally as personal reactions.

What are the telltale signs that we’ve moved from one neighborhood to another? What makes the restaurant on one street so much better than the next? We also want to make these sensory observations unique.

When we examine the local flavor of a setting we discover a treasure trove of details in attitude and speech, special foods, ceremonial events, public safety, law enforcement and city hall meetings.

Merrie Destefano set her richly layered urban fantasy in New Orleans. Here’s the first question in her discussion guide.  As you think of your ‘local’ setting consider how you would want readers to answer this question for you. What influence would you want to filter down?

“Discussion Questions:

1. Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles is set in New Orleans, a city rich in culture and cuisine. It’s the historic birthplace of jazz, a center known for voodoo and Mardi Gras, and it’s also a city that suffered greatly as a result of Hurricane Katrina. How did the setting of New Orleans add to this story? How would you describe the voice in which the author tells this tale? What does it add to the overall effect of the book? Discuss.”  

Share: What style voice will you choose for your story?

Read deep, marcy

Stop by and visit Merrie's website at for a full discussion guide and more.   

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