Wednesday Writing Exercise: There’s No Place Like Home… Or Is There?

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Location, location, location. Sometimes it’s the first element you select for a story, and it’s often the first thing that a reader really identifies with, too. A well-described landscape can be hugely evocative; the atmosphere for your novel can be decided quite literally by setting the scene.

So what happens if you change that fundamental strand of your project’s DNA?

Well. Let’s find out, shall we?

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If you’ve got a manuscript making itself at home on your hard drive

It’s time to take your characters on a little holiday. Choose a tricky scene which you’ve had trouble writing, or which doesn’t seem to quite work, and try relocating it somewhere completely different.

If you’re feeling brave, go wild – stick the characters on a desert island, or in a submarine. Removed from the world of your novel, are there still issues with the scene? If so, it could be that you’re trying to force your characters to act or speak in a way which doesn’t feel natural or logical; you may need to consider removing or rethinking that section. Or does changing the place free up the characters and help you make the scene flow? If it does (hooray), try to translate this back into a version in your story’s “real” world.

Sometimes just a simple change of scenery will do – if the tricky bit happens in your character’s sitting room, move them out into the street; from work to weekend stroll. Does that change the dynamic?

If you haven’t got a work in progress, or you want a little palate cleanser

Write a short story about a person finding themselves entirely (and geographically) out of their comfort zone. It could be a New Yorker in the Outback, or a Poet Laureate on an 18-30s booze cruise.

How does putting a character in an unusual location help you, the writer, give us information about them?

We have new creative writing exercises for you every Wednesday. And if you can’t wait a whole week, join us every Friday morning for our QuickFic competition – write a story based on that week’s prompt for a chance to win a stack of books.

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