When I (Christina) write fiction, I am always compelled to start describing the setting first.
Mood or Atmosphere
The setting of a story can come across simplistic, shallow and unimportant to a novice reader and can be so to write for a newbie writer. But, seasoned readers and writers alike know how very important setting actually is to the story world where the characters interact.
Setting sets the stage, it prepares the reader for what they should expect from the scene. Is the scene ominous and scary? Bright and cheery? Are the inhabitants of the story world friendly, feuding, controlling, forgiving, set in their way or too lax with the societal rules? What about the story world’s economy? Is it bustling or waning? Are the buildings in ruins, brand new, in need of constant repair? What about the general mood of the main characters versus the moods of the secondary, tertiary and background characters? Do all these moods affect each other? Does the state of the buildings or landscape or social climate of this fictional world affect the people?
Setting in a made-up story is imperative to the depth of the story; it lays the foundational layer of the world in which the characters live. Setting also lays a foundational layer in our real world relationships.
Let’s look closer over the next few posts at how;
Place is just that, a place. It is the geographical location in which the action occurs. Do you and your spouse live in a city, the country, suburbs, cramped apartment, spacious house with a pool, a fixer-upper in dire need of fixing, a rent-controlled walk-up, a tract house that lacks originality or a unique Craftsman built with quaint perfection? Go globally, in which part of the world do you live? Go smaller; what part of town are you inhabiting?
Does where you are affect who you are? Yes!
Think about where you live. What do you like and not like about your house, neighborhood, town? How do those aspects affect your marriage? Are they sources of well-worn arguments, areas of great divide or are they places of bridges and bonds?
For years I complained about our crazy backyard in what was supposed to be a temporary-two-year-house. Somewhere around year seven I started to really accept the house we live in for what it was and is, a home and a blessing instead of an irritation. I made peace with the annoyances of the backyard and the home repairs we couldn’t afford to repair and I stopped my complaining. I did not just bottle my frustrations up, I let go of them and in turn I ended up with one less issue to bring up in a fight with Nathaniel I had one less annoyance in my life, one less pain on my heart. Instead of allowing my setting to rule me I accepted it and found the blessing within it.
What control does my setting have on me?
Is this control affecting my marriage?
Is it easy or hard to feel intimately connected with my spouse when I feel frustrated with my setting?
Next post….Time. We all have it though it never seems like enough. Maybe, it isn’t how much time we have but how we use it together.