Writing Tips & Advice
Air temperature, wind, precipitation, fog, sunny/overcast, day/night.
Example: Without warning the rain came down in thin sheets. Marie ran back to the car with Richard
close behind her, but instead of opening the door for her, he held her up against the vehicle and kissed
her, right there in the rain. Heat from their bodies rose like steam in the wet humid air.
The Five Senses
Sounds, smells, sights, touch, taste.
Example: The heavy stench of cigar smoke filled the room. Everyone was talking at once, but one
woman’s high-pitched voice rose above the deep blended voices of the men.
Setting, location, people, animals, landscape, scenery, nature, actions, obstacles, threats.
Example: Hundreds of people had gathered in Times Square to watch the demonstrators face off with
Dialogue, body language, emotions.
Example: She slouched down into the only chair in the room--a worn overstuffed lounger she had
retrieved from her dead mother’s apartment that morning. “Damn cancer,” she murmured before taking
a healthy swig of bourbon. Tears cascaded down her cheeks and landed on the bodice of the dark silk
blouse she had worn to the funeral.
The right setting will not only draw the reader into the scene but it can also help to create the tension/conflict in
the storyline, set the mood, and influence character behavior. Here are some elements to consider when
creating the setting.
Time of day, calendar date, season, era, clothing styles, car models, lingo/slang, mannerisms, moralities, politics, music, theater.
Example: He got into his four-year-old '36 Boattail Speedster and turned on the radio. Glen Miller was crooning the last few
lyrics of Fools Rush In. He looked at himself in the mirror, adjusted his black felt Fedora, and headed for the Roosevelt political
Internal dialogue, body language.
Example: “How could he do this to me?” she asked herself through clenched teeth. She pounded the wall with the side of her
fist. “He could have at least told me in person,” she thought.
Cultural influences, economic classes, religious beliefs
Example: He walked past abandoned cars, boarded up houses, and barefoot children playing kickball in the street. His heart
pounded as he walked up the crumbling concrete stairs to his father's home, not knowing what to expect if he actually opened
the door and let him inside.
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