Tag Archives: setting

Description: Letting Readers Fill in the Gaps

Sailboat in background and a man and a woman silhouetted in the foreground, looking out into the sea. The post title, "Letting Readers Fill in the Gaps" by Elizabeth Spann Craig is superimposed on the top.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I read a nice post by Nils Ödlund, “Don’t Show, Don’t Tell — How to Leave Room for the Reader’s Imagination ” on the Mythic Scribes blog.

As he says in the post: “…I’d like to explain why the reader’s mind is so strong: it’s because they put something of themselves into it. They use their own experiences, expectations, and associations to create the image, and this make it theirs. It becomes more personal; making it easier to understand and to believe in.”

Twice recently, I’ve been surprised by readers with compliments on my character descriptions.

One woman said, “I could see her perfectly. She was just like my Aunt May.” Continue reading Description: Letting Readers Fill in the Gaps

Setting as a Vehicle for Conflict


by Becca Puglisi, @BeccaPuglisi

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that a good book should have conflict in every scene. This is wise advice, since well-written conflict begets tension for our characters, which can be passed on to readers, who will sense a rise in energy as they feel that nervous, jittery sensation signaling them that something is going on. We all want readers to have that heightened awareness and interest when they’re reading our stories, and a good way to bring that about is through conflict.

While the most obvious source of conflict is an antagonist who opposes our hero and his goal, it’s simply not reasonable (or sensible) to drag him into every chapter. As a result, we have to find other struggles that make sense for each scene. It may not seem like the most intuitive choice, but I’d like to propose that the setting is one of the handiest sources of conflict, for a number of reasons. First, every scene has a setting, so it’s already built into your story. And with the sources of conflict inherently included in each location, there’s no need to fabricate them—no lengthy set-up involved to put these difficulties into your protagonist’s path. If you’re wondering what sources of conflict I’m referring to, consider the following: Continue reading Setting as a Vehicle for Conflict

Writing the Cozy Mystery: the Setting and the Sidekick

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraigfile611236549064

This is the fourth part in my series on writing cozy mysteries. Today, I’m covering two important elements of our story: the setting and our sidekick.

Most cozy mysteries shoot for a very closed environment and a closed group of suspects from which to choose from.

You can still maintain a closed environment in a large city or bigger town (I did in my Memphis series), but it’s a little harder, I think.  Although I’ve got a city as a backdrop for the story, I center much of the story action around a barbeque restaurant.  This doesn’t mean we can’t stray from these central locations, but they serve to make the setting seem more intimate (yes, cozy) and create a home base for the sleuths.  Sleuths can interview suspects from there, use it as a place to discuss the case with their sidekicks, and generally interact with the other characters. Continue reading Writing the Cozy Mystery: the Setting and the Sidekick