A NARRATIVE SENSE OF PLACE

“If character is the foreground of fiction, setting is the background, and as in a painting’s composition, the foreground may be in harmony or in conflict with the background…where there is a conflict between background and foreground, between character and setting, there is already “narrative content,” or the makings of a story.” Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft


As an exercise, Burroway suggests writing a scene in which two characters are in conflict over their surroundings. One wants to stay, the other wants to leave.

If you choose to do the exercise, you might try it twice–first choosing a familiar setting; next choosing some place exotic. How do two very different settings effect the possibilities for conflict?

Finally, try setting a scene in the landscape pictured with this post. Photo provided courtesy of photographer Jack Arnold.

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