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Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Setting and Character Reactions

Sometimes we think about what a character thinks of a place, what memories it inspired, what assumptions, and impressions, but it’s just important to think about how that place affects a characters.

If you could go back to your very first bedroom, the one you recall in distant memory, how would you feel? As you walked through the door, what emotions would your memories and setup of the room inspire? Homesickness? Dread? Joy? Simple nostalgia?

Think of a graveside now. What do you recall? Someone you knew who passed away? Perhaps some Halloween play as a child? For an Irishwoman I once knew, in a certain cemetery, some of the graves were a testament to the love and devotion of a people, for the gypsies would come through and tend all their own graves. “The gypsies’ graves are always beautiful,” she said.

What does any particular place mean to each of us? No one person has the same reaction as any other. Our experiences, opinions, and assumption form our reactions to a building, a road, a quiet spot in the woods. The culmination of who we are determines the way any location influences the way we feel and think.

The same is true for our protagonists. Consider how their life, experiences, and opinions might impact their reactions to any setting.

Do you use this in fiction? As a reader, do you like seeing this done, and what examples can you give of times it has been done well? As a writer, what tricks do you know for how to help capture a character’s reactions to a setting?

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