One of the main tricks to writing about place in a compelling way is to adhere to the old adage, “show, don’t tell.”
There is nothing as magical as a great piece of writing that transports the reader to another place and time. In a very real way, writing that resonates so strongly with the reader become pictures that are painted with words. As a writer, when people refer to something I have written as “powerful” or “beautiful” imagery, well I can think of no better compliment. And it is one of the reasons why I write. I am compelled to try to build images with words and to capture the feelings and emotions those images summon in my soul. Most often, the physical setting is a character in whatever project I am working on. Every day when I sit down to write, I actively think about how to transform my words into something beyond a flat description. How to connect with the reader, giving them a rich written world. It’s not always easy, and it doesn’t always come on the first try. But when the words click together and form that word painting, the feeling is like no other.
Whether the piece is short story, novel or creative non-fiction, creating that unique sense of place is so important. Sense of place is one of the main building blocks, and allows the connection with the reader at a gut level. That connection is something all writers should strive toward.
To become a better writer, the writer needs to be a reader. One way to raise your own writing up to the next level, is to study the work of writers you admire. While finding time between reading and writing is a balancing act, reading is an essential part of a writer’s development. Pick authors you enjoy, read their work and see what in their writing works (and doesn’t!) for you. Read the classics to see why their words withstand the test of time.
Learning from other’s creations is one of the best ways to strengthen your own writing. In fact, I started writing as an adult when looking for books to read and discovered that what I sought was elusive. In a way, I began writing to create something that I felt was missing – a yearning within myself. Now, I can’t imagine not writing. And writing about place is one of the main reasons I continue to work, discover and explore how to capture images on a page with words.
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