Story Locations

The story location is very important to your plot. It can deal with culture references or deal with a certain era in time’s development for the plot. But I would like to take this a step further. Please bear in mind of how many locations your story obtains.

What I mean is, if the characters are constantly moving from city to city or jumping back and forth between houses/jobs/etc the reader may become confused or even  you the writer may forget where the characters are supposed to be at certain times within the plot outline.

Keep it simple. Most stories center around one locations with a few other locations woven into the beginning or end of the story. For example: consider Twilight by Stephenie Myers. The story begins in Phoenix, Arizona but quickly moves to Forks, Washington. There is a few smaller places mentions, but the majority of the story takes place in Forks. Harry Potter stories mostly center around Hogwarts, but does include a few other locations such as London, Hogsmeade, Harry’s aunt and uncles house and the Weasley’s homes.

Other stories such as Of Men and Mice place the whole story within one location (the farm).

What about fantasy locations?

I know fantasy locations with made up worlds do involve more description. Books like Lord of the Rings or Eragon do deal with multiple locations within their series. The authors provided maps to coincide with the stories so the reader can see and follow the path the character’s take.

Fantasy locations do contain more descriptions of the scenes around the characters. A few ways to minimize the “tell” portion of the description is to slowly introduce the landscape or location around dialogue or action. I have read stories where the description becomes too much that it focuses on the pink veins within the red leaves and such that I completely forgot where the characters even were. Minimum is your friend with description because it allows your readers to use their own imagination. Also another way to minimize the telling is to only introduce a new location when introducing a new scene. Let the character along with the reader see each place as the story unfolds. If you try revealing the whole world in the first paragraphs of the first chapter, the reader will most likely be overwhelmed. I’m not saying successful books haven’t used this method, but it’s better to pace yourself as the writer and the story for the readers.

L. R. Mauck

Note: Sorry about the lack of updating this month. Sadly, my usb drive disappeared and now I feel lost with my blog outlines as well as my most currant wip’s.


A Character’s Death

This is not in reference to a murder mystery or crime novel where you need a random person to die for the story to occur or to continue. This is in reference to killing a character that has more interaction in the plot than a minor sub character. Killing that character should mean something.

As writers, we become attached to our characters. They become our family, our children. We become very invested in their lives as we write out the pages. So, I ask you – if you have a character death can you please not let that death be pointless? I value human life, and that includes the fictional character’s lives as well. Can you weave in the writing so that it means something to the main character or to the plot? Can you make it symbolize something of the main character’s personal journey? Or relate in a parallel situation?

The book series of Harry Potter has many deaths within its pages. Each one can make the reader cringe or cry. Consider picture below.

hp deaths

Also dealing with parallelism in Harry Potter – consider the fourth book – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The movie shows this, but I have not verified it with the book. In the beginning when Harry, Ron, and Hermione are in the campground (movie version) and the dark mark is cast into the sky. The wizard’s shoot stunning spells are the trio. Mr. Weasley shouts “That’s my son”. They cease-fire to question them. Now, speed up to the near end of the movie when Harry brings back Cedric’s body. You hear the heart-wrenching cry of Mr. Diggory “That’s my son, that’s my boy”. Two fathers from opposite ends of the same village, dealing with two completely and, yet, eerie similar situations, shouting similar words. If you have a death, make it mean something. Don’t waste a life unless something can come from it.

L.R. Mauck

(Sorry for the long delay in posting. It’s been a busy time of year at both of my jobs.)