Monday, February 26, 2007

Small, knowable world

The party went really well on Saturday--big relieved sigh from Mommy here. Not as many kids came as I expected, but it worked out perfectly, and they all made their crafts (homemade windchimes), played Hullabaloo with great joy, and scarfed down cheese pizza, super-frosted cake, and pink punch and apple juice. We have videos of them all bouncing up and down after balloons, and photos of all the Art etc. She'll remember this party fondly, and I'm so glad.

My birthday's tomorrow, but whatevah. We'll do something fun, but I don't have to worry about it!

I'm reading STORY very slowly due to Life, but ran across a very true bit from it this morning that I thought I'd share (small bit copied under fair use):

"Limitation is vital. The first step toward a well-told story is to create a small, knowable world. Artists by nature crave freedom, so the principle that the structure/setting relationship restricts creative choices may stir the rebel in you....The constraint that setting imposes on story design doesn't inhibit creativity; it inspires it."

This immediately struck me as true. A vast, ill-defined, or vague setting puts the reader off. They can't picture themselves in it, imagine themselves as part of it. Think of books you've loved, books that have made you spin off in your imagination into that world. For me an example is THE DARK IS RISING by Susan Cooper. The setting is very specific, a small village in north England. But it's clear that it's "real" to the characters (and the author) and I can completely picture myself there.

I'm feeling confident that I can create this small, knowable world a heckuva lot better in this book than I could in any of the ones I've worked on before.

What do you think? Does this bit ring true for you?

OH, and there will be a major Announcement tomorrow relating to the release date of Vicki's book, THE SCENT OF SHADOWS. Watch this space.

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