Friday, March 20, 2009

Characters and Settings

So I'm working on the new WIP, a YA SF (how's that for some abbreviations?). Part of Chapter One drug a little bit...I wanted to describe the setting in my narrator's first person voice, but it came out false. After all, if we're really getting inside his head, then it doesn't make sense for him to describe the intricacies of his world--he already knows them.

Then I had the idea of him showing and explaining his world to another character--but that's so been done before.

But here's the idea I think just might work: tying the setting to his motivations. If he just pops up to Character B and says "Hey, let's go for a ride, I want to show you my world!" Well...that's cheesy. But if he has a crush on Character B (he does) and wants to get her away from Character C, who also has a crush on her, and he wants to show off a bit...well, he'd take her out on a date. And while he's showing her his world, he's also hitting on her. Now, the scene isn't about explaining the world, but about him struggling to get Character B to recognize him and fall in love with him...and in the process showing the world.

By tying my character's motivation to the setting, I think I'll be able to show the setting without being boring or to inf-dumpy. The chapter isn't just about the setting--it actually progresses the plot, too.

Now, off to write it!

11 comments:

Davin Malasarn said...

This is a great technique, Beth. You're making the section do multiple things at once, which is always a good goal to strive for. It sounds great!

Rebecca said...

I love this thought! It really hit home when you said the part about the character not explaining his world just because you need him to as the author, after all he already knows it. Now I want to go back and ensure I haven't done this with my stories! Great advice, thanks for sharing this.

Christina Farley said...

Sounds complicated but great! I'm sure you can pull it off. I love the premise of your story. You're always so creative.

Robyn said...

Hmmm, character C? The wheels are turning and I'm trying to figure out who character C is. HMMM..........

Lady Glamis said...

Wow, that sounds like it might work! Of course, it's all on how well you present it, but I have NO DOUBT you can do that well. You have put a lot of thought into this. Keep us posted on whether or not you keep it this way!

ElanaJ said...

YA SF? Dude, I think we're twins. And I love your reasoning for Character A and B and C...great stuff!

lotusgirl said...

Seems to me that's the best way to build the world.

Keri Mikulski said...

Sounds like you're thinking it out well.. Great stuff, Beth. I can't wait to hear more about your novel. :)

beth said...

Davin: Thanks! It's not something I thought about, just stumbled upon, but I really think it's the way to go.

Rebecca: That was something I really really struggled with.

Christina: Although it took me awhile to hit upon the idea, to be honest I was able to to write it much more easily...the writing flows more easily.

Robyn: Oh, you will like Character C!! :)

Glam: Thanks!

Elana: Thanks for reminding me (inadvertently) to go check out your ABNA entry! :)

Lois: I think so, too!

Keri: Thank you! It's going very well.

Heather Zundel said...

And it seems so much more natural. Your readers won't even know what's hit them, and that is the best part. These characters seem older than in The Amnesia Door, are they?

beth said...

Heather, yup! I'm aiming for about 16/17 years old with this one. It's a lot...deeper? Is that the word? I'm raising much more dynamic philosophical questions with this one. Lemme know if you'd like to see some chapters! :)