Sunday, June 19, 2011

Details Matter for Setting a Sense of Place

I started carrying my camera a while ago, not wanting another moment to go by where I'd find myself wishing I had it with me. Today, the tumultuous sky captured the attention of my daughter and I.

I believe that in the deepest sense of being alive, whether each of us realizes it or not, we are connected to the world around us--both biologically and spiritually. That is why we're drawn to the outdoors--to watch and to experience what nature has to offer. And that is why we are drawn to books and to stories--to connect with something outside ourselves and to deepen our understanding of what it means to exist.

Creating a setting is one of the most important aspects of creating a story. It gives a foundation that readers can connect to. It the is foothold that keeps both your plot moving along. Without it, your characters and your readers can be left adrift, lost, and without balance. And when key aspects are missing from your setting, their absence echoes.

This spring, with the unusual weather, the absence of one of nature's pivotal species--the director of new life--has been sharply brought to my attention.... Bumblees.

The bees are gone. They have been missing from my yard. Whether it be due to the long, rainy spring we've had or disease, I'm not sure; but their gentle flitting among flowers has been missed.

Thus, I've been reminded. Details matter. Even the faint buzzing of a bumblebee--or, lack thereof--doesn't go unnoticed, both in stories and in life.

So, in both places, take care to not overlook the small stuff.