Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunlight and Mystery - Got Writing?

The sunlight made me shade my eyes. I couldn't see the man in front of me, only his outline.

"Who are you?" I asked.

I heard something click and took a step back. A bead of sweat dropped down my back. The heat was baking me.

"Please, who are you?" I asked again.

With a flourish he pulled back his cloak and stepped to the side so that I could see him.

"I am... "

And so it begins in the heat of... of... what? Finish this scene in 100 words or less. Winners to be posted next Friday, the 11th.

Environment is a big part of world building and world building is what writer's do. Whether it's the world of a sixteen year old girl in suburban New Jersey in 2008, a fifteen year old boy in 1936, Sunnyside Queens, or a halfling with furry feet and approaching a youngish 50 in the Shire of Middle Earth. Each of these worlds needs climate, physical landscape, smell, and sound. These aspects of the world your characters live in make it come alive in time and place (even if it's a paralell world or fantasy world). We smile at the familiar (the smell of coffee, the sound of chalk on blackboard, the feel of spray from waves crashing at the beach), and imagine the bizarre (just how big is a cyclops and what does a siren sound like?).

More than anything, environment helps shape character, even if the characters aren't aware of it. It tells them what to wear, how to interact, what the rules of society of the world they live in require.

See if in the writing prompt above you can bring your vision of the world that I have begun into the story and see how it shapes what the man in the cloak is about to say.

- Joe


  1. I'm just wondering this, but can we send in more than one story?

  2. More than one submission would be fine, Charles. Glad you're feeling so inspired!

  3. Okay, that is a little relieving. I can see two potential routes for this to go in, and they have different tones, so it would have been hard to choose only one.