Today I take action. I sit where I most like to write. While I write, I hydrate my imagination by drinking water (or some other thirst-quenching drink). I tune out everything but the sound of words appearing on the page from out of nowhere.
Today I write.
A sense of place grounds a reader in the here and now of a story. The place or setting of a story becomes one half of the relationship between the protagonist and the world around her. Relationships of all kinds–in this case, with the setting–provide insight into the character beyond what the character may believe about herself through the interactions she has with others. Plot a scene showing how the story’s environment affects the protagonist’s feelings, actions, and behavior in order to help define her.
He felt light up there, above everything, looking down on the city of Point Pleasant and its lights twinkling in the distance. It was freedom up above. His shadowy form rippled in the wind–light and full. He felt the joy and comfort from up here that he’d never felt anywhere.
As a child, constantly ridiculed by his classmates, he had something only he could enjoy. He was not beneath them anymore, which was all the more that he had to keep his head on his billowy shoulders and not somewhere in the star on this clear lit night.
The darkness enveloped his form, but the light from the moon and star shined gently on it. He was not corrupted by it, only luminescent, a twinkling of his own sparkling above, perhaps glowing like a UFO.
Daryl wondered if from below, in the streets filled with visitors if anyone could see him up here… It didn’t matter. He was about to make his entrance.
Incorporate into the action you wrote in the first prompt a sense of where the action takes place. For now, forget the details. Write a passage that gives a bird’s eye view of the place–a city, the country, outer space, the desert, a bright shopping district, a slum, a dark alley, in the middle of the ocean. Create an overview sense of the place for grounding, one that shows a broad connection between the protagonist and the setting.
If you are writing a mystery, the bird’s-eye view can be an overview of the mystery itself more than the actual physical location of the story.
Point Pleasant High School doors burst open. Students rushing out to the buses lined up to take them home. Daryl took his time. He walked to his locker, feeling good about what he’d said in class, ignoring the protests from Kinder as he strode.
His smile widened when he saw his best friend Samantha leaning against his locker. She was the only one that knew his secret.
She leered at him, dark lipstick and eye shadow would have made her look unapproachable if Daryl hadn’t know her since middle school.
“Hi, Samantha,” said Daryl as he spun his lock. “Got any plans this weekend?”
“You can’t be serious about going to Point Pleasant Community?” she said.
“I am. I can’t just leave. I have responsibilities here.”
“Sam, you’re not intimidating. Just back up a little please.”
“… You know I hate it when you call me Sam,” she said as she slid under his arm while he grabbed his backpack out of the locket.”
“I know,” he said, “Your name is Samantha and you’re not a lesbian… or something.”
“Exactly, but seriously, I’ve seen the letters you get from Harvard and MIT and everywhere else. You could really get out of here and be something more.”
“You could too. Why aren’t you leaving?”
“I am leaving.”
Daryl winced. “When did you decide that?”
“I’ve always wanted to leave. I have nothing here to hold me back. You can’t expect me to believe that you want to live the rest of your live in Point Pleasant?”
Daryl paused. “Yeah… That was my plan.”