1. louis1

    louis1 Contributing Member

    Jan 3, 2012
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    How to let your readers know where they are?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by louis1, May 22, 2012.

    I've created this fantasy world and i'm doing a pretty good job at placing my characters in this world. My question how many different way are they to let your readers know where they are? and what are these techniques?

    I'm scared I might bore my readers if every time the setting changes I have to say: Philip went into the castle or something like that.

    I'm not talking about how to describe, but how to let my readers know where the scene is taking place in original ways.
  2. indy5live

    indy5live Active Member

    May 15, 2012
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    EDIT: Opps, just read the, "not talking about how to describe part." My bad.

    If the scene is important, dedicate paragraphs to it like Lovecraft does (example below). I usually give the reader enough information to understand the scene without over explaining, then again, I'm not writing about a completely fictious place in most cases...but even if I was, I'd evaluate the importants of the location vs the plot that takes place there. Does elements of the plot play into the enviroment or is it just a place things are happening at? If the same plot line can take place in a dessert or a forest, I'd say give minimum description. If we are talking about sneaking in a castle by swimming under the wall along the stream, then feel free to give me a whole paragraph describing this location, because it's physically interacting with the plot.

    "It was a narrow place, and I was alone. On one side, beyond a margin of vivid waving green, was the sea; blue, bright, and billowy, and sending up vaporous exhalations, that they gave me an odd impression of a coalescence of sea and sky; for the heavens were likewise bright and blue. On the other side was the forest, ancient almost as the sea itself, and stretching infinitely inland. It was very dark, for the trees were grotesquely huge and luxuriant, and incredibly numerous. There giant trunks were of a horrible green which blended weirdly with the narrow green tract whereon I stood. At some distance away, on either side of me, the strange forest extended down to the water's edge; obliterating the shore line and completely hemming in the narrow tract. Some of the tress, I observed, stood in the water itself, as though impatient of any barrier to their progess." - Lovecraft (The Story) - 1913


    "Boxes are stacked up on wooden pallets all around the perimeter of the warehouse. Scanning the room, she realizes she is lying at the beginning of what appears to be a packing assembly line for some toy company. She assumes the machine is out of commission due to the fact there are many tools laying around on the concrete floor and the control panel that exist above her head on the catwalk appears to be in pieces. As her eyes begin to adjust to the darkness she notices a heavy-duty hydraulic lift system surrounded by new industrial lights and some scaffolding with paint buckets scattered on top of them. Wherever she is, this place is right in the middle of a renovation." Me - 2012
  3. Ettina

    Ettina Active Member

    Nov 21, 2011
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    Well, here's some things I thought up:

    'Later, in the castle...'

    'The castle steps seemed huge to the exhausted Philip. When he finally made his way up, he sat on the top step to catch his breath.'

    'Before long, Philip found himself in the castle, meeting the king for the first time...'

    'From the window, Philip could see the entire castle grounds, all the way to the stables...'

    'The castle still seemed very extravagant to Philip...'

    Hope that helps.
  4. C.B Harrington

    C.B Harrington Member

    May 8, 2012
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    A reader does not need to know where they are before you start telling your story - Universe => Milky Way => Earth => United States => Austin => C.B stands naked holding a bowl of jell-o and reading forum posts.

    You unfold your story little by little and that includes the scene. If you start your story in a little cellar room, describe that room to give the reader a taste of your worlds style. As you change locations the world is described more and more, slowly building upon the previous descriptions and slowly expanding the readers understanding of where they are as the story progresses.

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