1. VarriedRomance88

    VarriedRomance88 New Member

    Dec 12, 2016
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    United States

    Techniques for Scene setting

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by VarriedRomance88, Dec 17, 2016.

    This is the only thread I found similar to what I'm about to ask, but I think it is still different

    But anyways, I was wondering what was everyone's strategies for setting their scene?

    One thing I've done is mediate on a particular scene. Just first turning my brain on mute, and typically keeping my eyes closed. At some point I start structuring the immediate space by placing myself as the character. So in the case to the story I continuous reference here I'll close my eyes and imagine I'm Ceara standing in the middle of her room at Jason's and Evelyn's castle. First its the base of a room, 4 walls, cold, stone because its an castle. I may stand up during my process and walk around my own bedroom, but I try really hard to not move far. If I do I'll butt up against my tv or something that will bring me back into modern life. When I can manage that I continue to build upon the room. Where's her bed? Ok how does it look? How does it feel? I'll reach out as I'm running my fingers over it. I try and keep the dialog here as minimal as possible. I just want to set the scene as much as possible, I find when I read stories we may have a ton of different settings big and small. But, the stories are typically more detailed oriented on settings that mean something. So I only do this for big scenes that will mean alot to me personally, to the characters, or be referenced multiple times throughout the stories.

    So whats your technique?
  2. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

    Nov 19, 2016
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    Chicago, IL.
    I am going to copy and paste something from my journal as it explains my whole process of creating a scene.


    The first thing I wanted to explore in Chapter 4 is 'Staging.' 'Staging' is where the setting environment reflects the psychological state of the character(s). In Chapter 4 the MC and another woman sit on the edge of a Hot tub, naked, in a backyard that has no fences. The first thing I wanted to look at is that this type of setting is very appropriate for the MC (in fact, these are the type of situations she tries to get herself into.) Often, if I write a scene that is not appropriate for my MC (like her getting into a gun fight), I'll delete it and come up with something else.

    Now the 'Staging' of this scene serves two purposes. First, subtextually, these two Characters are having a very open and vulnerable conversation with each other, that is the psychological state the two of them are in. The environment reflects this, hot vapor (like from a hot tub) 'opens' up pores on the human body. Showing our body to another person involves us being 'open' and 'vulnerable.' The fact there are no fences around the yard also gives the feel of an 'open' and 'vulnerable' environment. Another setting detail I am debating about adding is to place the hot tub on top of a building that is surrounded by skyscrapers, to give it a more 'open' and 'vulnerable' feel as anyone could look out their window and see that these two women are naked. Regardless, from the above details, we can see what type of feel I am trying to give this scene.

    The second purpose this 'Staging' serves comes from a film technique I learned about called 'Pope in the pool.' What 'Pope in the Pool' does is when you have a scene that is pretty much conversation (yet very important dialogue) you should have something interesting going on in the scene that keeps the audience enticed. Whatever is put in the scene to entice can either be in the background (say you have two characters talking while a boxing match goes on) or can be in the foreground (Say you have two characters playing a game of Chess while they have their conversation) but it needs to be there.
  3. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

    Jun 3, 2015
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    SC, USA
    I'm a very visual person, so picking out which visuals to include is second nature to me. Pretty good with textures too. So in setting a scene I can usually nail what's visible and tactile on the first pass - zone in on what's relevant or interesting. To snip an example out of a wip:
    Visuals (light level, shower curtain rod and bent hanger as a jank IV stand) and tactiles (cooler than the previously-mentioned main room, breezy). The AC gave my brain a bridge to remembering to include sound, but usually it'd take another pass of going through, asking myself "What's missing?" before I'd realize that, say, the character's entire apartment could've been described in pieces without mentioning the musty scent I imagine it having, the stuffy humidity, the silence barring things like the fridge and AC.

    So I guess my method is to rely on my intuition for the first go, and pick up the rest in editing by paying attention to what I've neglected. I'm not huge on descriptions but I do argue with myself a bit on what's really important, because I know my instincts are far from infallible. The visual description I had on a first pass might not be nearly as interesting as a good olfactory description, but I almost never think to add those in without prodding myself into it. If I have any tips it'd be to not underestimate smells :rolleyes:
  4. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic

    Dec 6, 2016
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    England, UK
    Nothing as impressive as any of this. Usually my brain, sometimes subconsciously, has conjured a rough image before I even start writing. I try to work with that, but to tell the truth, I'm terrible at scene setting. When I'm stuck I find images on Google of the same environment and use them to help me imagine certain elements. Nothing looks exactly as I want it to, but I might find the perfect staircase or something and find it easier to describe it once it's in front of me. However, most of the description actually comes from my second draft, when I already have foundations to work with and can stand back and check everything properly. Have I mentioned the five senses? Have I thought about the weather? Have I even remembered to point out whether it's nighttime or day? I go through a mental checklist and try to look beyond my MC's POV for anything I might have missed that actually should be mentioned.
  5. antlad

    antlad Banned

    Nov 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Memory. I remember what I have experienced through my life and I draw on that.

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