Theme of the Month  

Each month’s theme is a very special part of Write or Die Tribe. It sets the focus that will influence a number of aspects that come with a membership. The weekly writing prompts, the monthly recommended reading list, the questions asked to authors that are interviewed and our posts on social media.

This theme not only guides the content but is also geared toward helping you become a better writer.


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Exploring Place

May 2019

Often times, as writers, we don’t pay enough attention to place or setting while we are creating characters and mapping out our plot.

 Broadly defined, setting is the location of the plot, including the region, geography, climate, neighborhood, buildings, and interiors, built of elements such as weather, lighting, the season, and the hour.

But it is so much more than that.

Place saturates the story with mood, meaning, and thematic connotations. According to Philip Hensher, “the spirit of place in a novel is not just an inert backdrop or a straightforward illustrator of emotions; it is part of the humanity at the centre of the endeavour.”  Place effects our characters more than we think. “ A novel has to place the psychologies of individuals in a delicate relationship with the world that formed them” Hensher continues.  “Are they products of a city and a land? Have they formed the world about them? Are they in savage rebellion against it?”

Asking ourselves these poignant questions to transform our writing and make our stories become more alive.

Eudora Welty insists that place plays into genius, that place helps us focus and focus helps us love. Therefore, this attention anchors us to reality.

Feelings are bound up in place, and in art, from time to time, place undoubtedly works upon genius. . . . It may be that place can focus the gigantic, voracious eye of genius and bring its gaze to point. Focus then means awareness, discernment, order, clarity, insight — they are like the attributes of love. The act of focusing itself has beauty and meaning; it is the act that, continued in, turns into mediation, into poetry. Indeed, as soon as the least of us stands still, that is the moment something extraordinary is seen to be going on in the world.

For the month of May, we will be exploring place and how we can utilize it more effectively in our writing. Our weekly prompts will be centered around building up our use of setting and infusing our stories with this delicate relationship that Heshner describes.

On our social media sites, particularly Instagram, I will be posting quotes from literature that exemplify this use of place as well as helpful quotes about writing setting by acclaimed authors.

If you come across a quote in a book that you are reading, please DM or email it to me and I will share!

Resources

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/04/why-every-good-story-needs-a-good-setting/361110/

https://writingcooperative.com/a-sense-of-place-cc2a9bede636

https://www.poynter.org/archive/2002/writing-about-place-the-boundaries-of-a-story/