quaranTEEN voices Writing Prompt: ‘Location, Location, Location’
G.D. Falksen is an author and public speaker best known for his work in the steampunk literary genre. In fact, he’s been called an authority and a leader in the steampunk movement by a variety of publications. His novel The Secret Life of Kitty Granger is due out in 2021, and his Ouroboros Cycle series is currently being developed for television.
Take a location in a story you have written, or invent a new one. It can be a wholly created world, a fictional place in the real world, or a real place you are familiar with. Describe the location as if it’s being presented in an in-setting document or by an in-setting person (a town website or tourism brochure, a history book, a tour guide, someone reminiscing about home, etc).
What sort of details would be given in that context, and how would they be presented? Perhaps a scenic description of the mountains overlooking the town, or the history of an old city street. Would the local diner get a mention? What about the shadowy forest beyond the fairground? As you describe the location, think about narrative themes and how they can be conveyed through places, people, and objects. For example, in a mystery, could a profile of a town’s oldest families hint at something sordid in their past? In an adventure story, could the description of a city port convey a sense of excitement and wonder at the outside world? Alternatively, could the port’s description convey a sense of decay and neglect, perhaps offering background for a political thriller?
Take a scene you have already written and rewrite it from the perspective of a secondary or background character who is present. Alternatively, write a new scene but from the perspective of someone who isn’t a main actor in the events of the scene. Even though they aren’t a main participant in the action, what are their thoughts, feelings, and concerns regarding the events they are seeing? Are they focused on other activities or conversations that are more important to them? How does this change how the reader might observe the scene? Could the background character’s experiences be presented as if they are the main plot of the scene, rather than the original POV character’s experiences?
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