Settling into our settings

As November’s writing retreat draws closer we’ve been busy preparing delicious menus, daily schedules, and morning workshops. The aim of this season’s retreat is to offer our retreaters the space to write, the companionship and support of other writers, and inspirational workshops designed to nourish their works in progress, whether those WIPs be long laboured upon or newly hatching.

Tanya 215

As I’ve been thinking through what I want our guest writers to take away from my workshop on settings, it occurs to me that I haven’t been exploring my own settings deeply enough. Don’t get me wrong, there are several key things that I have of course taken into account. I’ve been careful to invoke all five of the senses in order to ground my readers in a sense of place. I’ve considered the function of my settings in relation to my characters and their story, questioning whether the setting of a specific scene offers a reflection or a contrast to my characters or their moods. Where possible, I’ve tried to give the setting a character of its own, to enable it to evoke atmosphere and tension.

But I now realise that what I haven’t yet done in my current WIP is really get to grips with the tone and textures of my overall setting. I know from experience that doing this will benefit my writing, but it’s an easy step to miss out when there’s so much else to think about. So that’s what I’m going to ask our retreaters to do during that session. I’ll post more here after I run the workshop and we see how everyone gets on.

Happy scribbling,


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