HWSWA: Setting

The HWSWA post on Setting is up.

So here’s a question, no here’s two questions:

1. Should we keep going in October or have we accomplished all we needed to by updating the old posts (which I still haven’t linked to because . . . dizzy.)
2. If we keep going, what the hell would we do?

Maybe I’ll just start doing questionable again. The real problem is that I think we’re all so exhausted by the insanity around us, the new normal that isn’t normal, plus those of us in the US have an insane moron telling us to vote twice and that people who die in battle are losers, so we’re a little worried about an election in eight weeks, that it’s hard to care about anything, certainly about whether or not a prologue is the sign of the apocalypse. Argh.

Also I just woke up which is not a good time for me to attempt coherent thought.

The HWSWA post is up! It’s on Setting! I haven’t read it since the chat but it did have good stuff in it!

Argh. Next week is about revising Theme and Unity.

16 thoughts on “HWSWA: Setting

  1. I found your earlier posts on writing – especially those that seemed to be building into a book – extremely valuable. These recent ones with Bob not so much; they haven’t given me much that’s new. (Plus I missed us all discussing them in the comments, due to the limitations of WordPress.) But then I turned your and Lani’s posts on writing into a how-to manual for myself, which I’ve revised and edited several times (which is my way of really digesting information). All I need to do now (!) is actually write my story.

    I’d go for whatever feels like it would be fun for you right now, given we’re living in difficult times.

  2. I would prefer fresh posts–even if your thoughts haven’t changed all that much. Craft discussions are always interesting and relevant, and what makes them dynamic is the conversation–the sharing of views and perceptions, the challenges and the examples to back them up. Besides, there are always new ways to articulate things that make lights go off in our brains. And I’m sure there are lots of new followers since then, too.

  3. I enjoyed reading that discussion.

    I’ve found (and I wasn’t surprised) that I’m a walk-the-terrain girl, although it’s more virtual than physical. I have a massive scrapbook stuffed with maps and photos for the thing I’m working on, and hand-drawn plans of things like a Song dynasty trading junk that I had to glean from written accounts of the era. Ninety percent of it won’t even get a mention in the story, but I need to be able to see the space my characters are moving through and I don’t want my characters or readers tripping on a set of stairs that weren’t there five paragraphs ago.

  4. I’m a new follower, and have been following HWSWA with great interest. Thank you (and Bob) for the discussions! What about a few other conversations on the publication portion of the writing process:

    1. How to find an agent? Does one need an agent?
    2. Self-publishing, good idea or bad?
    3. How Not to promote?? Road trip from H***, or ???

    Nope, not an aspiring writer, just interested in the overall process. I love to learn, plus I’m trying Not to think about our November elections in the U.S. (I never thought he could be elected in the first place, now I panic when I think it could happen again… )

    But you and Bob need to do whatever you feel like, Jenny! You write it, I’ll read it!

  5. I’ve been enjoying HWSWA. Tried to let you guys know my appreciation by commenting over there but my comments were swallowed by the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.

    I’d be interested in the business aspect of writing. For example, Moira mentioned self publishing. Like Moira, I’m not an aspiring writer but I’m still interested in how it all works.

  6. I’ve enjoyed reading the posts but haven’t had much to say, just because of where I’m at as a writer. I’ll enthusiastically read anything else you two want to write, but I’ll enthusiastically read your shopping list too so maybe don’t base your decision on what I say.

  7. “This is another one of those topics we agree on. Which makes for a lousy chat.” No it doesn’t. You say things different ways which illuminates the topic. And it is always lovely to hear from Bob, but if you guys have had enough, no pressure.

    “She had Carpenter with her. She’d swindle and he’d bash heads.” I though he just cleaned up after bashing – don’t see him as a basher at all. And didn’t you foreshadow him taking over the department since Shane obviously didn’t want to? Yes, you are correct, we are all keeping the story going and invested enough to argue with the author about it.

  8. I confess, as much as I want to read these, now isn’t the right time for me because I am so overloaded. I hope I can find them later when my brain works again. Assuming it ever does.

  9. I read the posts. And this one on setting made me wonder how you both feel about setting as character.

    Didn’t seem to come up in discussion (although may have missed it), but many writers say that their setting doesn’t just feed the characters and story, but it is its own character. The Sex and the City tv series writers come to mind, since they often say that New York is the fifth lady of that show.

    Since i write a series where the setting plays a key role, I find the topic particularly relevant.

    As for blog continuing, think that’s your call but do find it thought provoking even though, as others have said, the comment issues over there limit participation. Otherwise, I totally would have asked Bob a few posts ago to expand on his views re The Woman of the Year movie he mentioned. Hubby and I have that movie in our collection and have many thoughts on it (read issues) and think Desk Set is probably our fave of the Hepburn/Tracy pairings, with maybe Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner as second:)

    1. I don’t think setting is a character because setting can’t arc and doesn’t really have an interactive role in the plot. Sort of like corporations aren’t people.

      I think setting (time, place, community) is context, which is crucial and does have an impact, but not a changing one. Setting doesn’t arc.

  10. I’d really enjoy a few more of these discussions. Even though I find myself both bored by and reluctant to engage with endless bloody punishment, which characterize the whole thriller genre and seep into generic mystery and urban fantasy, I very much like the ideas that Bob offers — things like the restrictiveness of now-settings for plotting and fully internalized experiences, and the whole thing about walking the terrain.

    Would it be possible to do a dialogue about the different ways you approach writing bad guys and good guys, protagonist-supporters and villainous or just baffled antagonists?

    Another thing strikes me is that the two of you have benefited from contributing such different types of people to your collaborations. They don’t get one another’s worldview or assumptions, and that brings an element of growth & struggle to the whole people-setting of the book, like a version of the innocent onlooker.

    The thing that I really like about having at least one innocent in a book (and by that I mean the newbie, the rookie, or the person who doesn’t know the rules of a place) is that they have to either wonder about things or ask questions about events or people they don’t get, which prevents that sensation of infodump stopping the movement of plot. Their ignorance is often the same as the reader’s ignorance.

    Which I think is part of the charm of both Peter Grant in the Rivers of London series and Murderbot in his/hers/its series. In different ways, they’re both trying to figure out the rules of the world they’re inhabiting, which helps us all make that jump into their fantasy settings.

    Or gosh, do think it might be that translucent omniscience thing they’ve got going?

  11. I have really loved your your essays and I’m a non-writer with no plans to write. I love to use what you give us and analyze what I’m reading – why it worked for me, why it didn’t. I’d LOVE to see you and Bob do a book club, just the two of you – analyzing a book based on the principles that you have outlined. You could make it a slightly older one if you don’t want to tackle a newer book/author. I have trouble at times with my analysis I think because I don’t fully understand the glossary so to speak. I know First Person and I know Third Person, but Third Omniscient vs Objective? etc. and why that matters to me as a reader.

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