Saturday, January 12, 2008


A friend asked about where a particular book of mine was set. The question made me think about settings. I love choosing a setting, researching the area, and picking the details that enrich the story. In fact, setting can be a distraction for me. There's a fine line between enough to keep the reader grounded and an enhanced mood for the tale and my getting lost in an unrealized story world.

There's always a story running in my head. That's what got me into the writing business. But there's a world of difference between the stories in my mind and the ones on paper. For one thing, and you're just going to have to trust me on this, the tales inside are brilliant. Truly, the characters are vivid, lovable, so real that you ache for them. The plots are flawless. The dialogue sings. And the settings? Perfect, authentic, moody--like the best movie you've ever seen. Getting this perfection on paper? Impossible. Never gonna happen. All I aim for is to get closer.

Part of the problem is translating the lavish feast of all the senses that exists in my imagination into words. The rest of the problem is me and my blind spots, weaknesses, and less than masterful command of storytelling tools. Topped off by the frustration caused by the gap between the vision and the book one paper.

Storytelling is part magic, sometimes the incantations work better than others. But once hooked on the practice, the writer must continue.


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