Reading Circles – Description & Setting {Part 2}

That was a good party we had this week, wasn’t it? You all should have seen how impressed we at Bigger Picture Blogs were with our community’s creativity and how much fun we had. And I don’t know about you, but I have a few new songs to add to my playlist! As I told my fellow contributors, I feel a bit like I’m in the aftermath: it’s a bit like the cleanup after the party…when you pick up the cans and bottles, tidy up that thing that got knocked over by an exuberant elbow or two, and reminisce over highlight moments…all while basking in the glow of a successful shindig among friends.

And with that glow still burning, we settle back down into it. Creativity awaits!

Last week we read the first few chapters of Rozelle’s book, Description & Setting, and the second chapter even inspired me to start a journal specifically for random details I notice! I’ve been noting them down in my regular journal, but the details get lost in amongst the flotsam and jetsam of other writing I do in there. So I set aside a dedicated resource for myself, a little chest of essential nothings and perfect trivialities, with which to pepper my writing or inspire further descriptions. Do you collect details too, or were you inspired to begin?

I also set forth a little exercise for us: describe something in or around your home or neighborhood as if it were a person. Feel free to write up a couple of sentences in the comments or link up a blog post, one written expressly for this or one written for something else that includes this kind of personification.

For mine, I chose to use the suitcase that inspired my current manuscript, The Yellow Suitcase.

Once bright and optimistic, speaking of adventures to foreign lands, the yellow suitcase has turned toward brown and ornery with age. It has cracked in places and has a clasp that won’t quite shut. It bears rips and stains in the lining, and tags like memories of better days. If this suitcase could talk, it would speak in a rusty voice. It’s the favored uncle who smokes too much and coughs when he laughs too hard, the one who has so much phlegm in his old throat, you can practically see the ashes of a thousand cigars. There are memories written in the lines of his face. He has a grab bag full of them, most of which he’ll share with you, if you sit around long enough to listen. The most important ones, he’ll keep to himself. He seems harmless, mostly. Yet something about him repels, and no one likes to linger too long. He is the uncle everyone entertains, but whom no one really wants because eventually, he finds a way to embarrass you, and never notice the damage he’s wrought.

*     *     *

For the next week, we’re going to dive in deeper to sensory descriptions and revealing character. We’ll read chapters 4-6 together. Chapter Four is on Showing, Telling, and Combining the Two. Chapter Five is Sensory Description, and Chapter  Six is Description of Characters.

And the exercise for the week is to:

deliver mood through setting (preferably without using the over-relied-upon-device of rain or storms).

Sound good? And again, you can share any example in which you do this.

In the meantime, let’s see your anthropomorphisms!

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2 responses to “Reading Circles – Description & Setting {Part 2}

  1. A suitcase that has grown ornery with age? THAT is a beauty of an anthropomorphism! I loved it all! (I’m working on mine — we shall see 🙂

    Oh, and I always, always think of small phrases that I think — I need to write that down and use it as inspiration later — but then fail to do so. I love your dedicated notebook idea just for jotting little descriptors down. What a great exercise.

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