Saturday, October 27, 2018

Setting - An important element of Creative Writing

Storytelling is one of the great form of expression of thoughts and ideas. From the ancient days, we all have been practicing sharing anecdotes with our friends and families. There is interesting exchange of anecdotes in informal or formal setting which always excites and charms the listener. It is said that humor added in our story shakes the indifferent from the stupor. So everyone adds their own uniqueness in every tale they share. The foremost element that captures attention in addition to the elements that we are going to read further is our own charm or uniqueness of story-telling. Same applies to Story-writing. A well-defined or written story should have necessary elements which will entice the reader to go further and shove it away. Every element is unique in creative writing. Each holds a significance that will highlight the stories and make it complete.

To mention, story-writing, as a whole, has elements namely plot, character, setting, conflict, resolution and theme. The six elements come together to create a promising story. But it has often left me to ponder that which one is very crucial and which will take the story ahead. Without which the reader will miss the major part in the story. And that thought made me study further on this subject and that led me to write this article.

How significant is ‘Setting as an element’?

Travel is cathartic

Travel is liberating. It is a great escape from the routine life and mundane tasks. What is life without some amount of travel at regular intervals? Travel gives a chance to explore our child as well as wild side. It liberates, cleanses our soul and give us new enthusiasm to take on life ahead. And that is how we look at the element ‘Setting’. It is often a delightful element to write as well as read.

We all are Nomads by heart.

Place plays an important role in a story. Historically we have been nomads and that part of us is very much alive even now and always it shall be. We have the insatiable wander-lust which raises its curious head most of the times. Be it an escape from the mundane life or going for an adventure ride or to discover oneself, we all want to discover new places and weave new stories through them. We don’t hesitate to take the road less travelled and create a new story out of them. Making our journey to remember through penning down its uniqueness, is what most of us want to do.

We bring in that quality in our reading too. We always look for the places mentioned in the books and that which protagonist travels and spends their time in. The place which technically called as ‘Setting’ is thus weaved in a manner that will entice and enrich the imagination of a reader.

We put ourselves in the place we write

Every person writes and describes the place through their own lenses. The place holds a personality of a writer and it totally exhibits the uniqueness of that writer. May it be a beach, any hill side destination, or a garden, the writer puts himself in the location he is choosing to write on. So Setting gives a chance to put oneself on print.

Because we cannot travel always

Travel is not something we can do always. We have our work-life, deadlines, school pressures, household chores to look after, pay bills and the list never ends. Though it is always looked up as delightful escape from the slew of chores and activities mentioned, we cannot do it every now and then. For some it is always categorized as luxury or privilege and not a necessary item. In that case, reading put all our worries to rest. It cures our temptation to travel in a subtle way. We follow the sights the writer has explored, the culture that he/she comes across on his travel and those verdant or fetching landscapes. All through the ‘description of setting’. All through the sight transformed to words of the writer. Not able to travel always is balanced out by reading a nice book full of engaging descriptions of places.

Setting as a first element

We all watch movies. Even the visual communication aims to put setting as a first segment in the story. Some of the best movies start with describing the location without any dialogue. The simple image of birds chirping with the warmth of the sun blanketing the village or a busy urban life shown with sea of humanity walking without meeting each other’s eyes, or an airport scene with chaos. Many movies brim with the element of setting coming first in the order. It cannot always mean the geography or contours of the story but also means much more than what one can imagine. “One shouldn’t appeal for attention, your performance should command it.” As the saying goes, Setting never appeals for attention from the reader or viewer but its description will always turn the reader to come hunting for it. Thereby engaging him/her with the story it will take ahead. The curiosity in the cat gets never killed by the setting but the imagery used in it will always make the reader wanting more.

At the outset, Setting is very important in creative writing. It is the time and place where a scene occurs. It can help set the right tone, influence the behavioral pattern of the characters, time-travel, visualize the scene, and set an emotion to the story. A lovely setting shown on the cover page always makes a reader pick up the book immediately. It is like many tools packed on a beautiful case. The other elements are packed and neatly enclosed with the lovely case called setting.

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