Sunday, November 11, 2012

PROMPT - Take it outside: Scene Exercise

(all images used are free domain)

One of the hardest challenges for writers is capturing landscape.  Because landscape is so much more than just trees and hills. Landscape has shape, colors, facets, and smells. Landscape has atmosphere. You can take as much from the landscape as you can a character, and you can use that landscape to characterize said character.  So I come with a challenge for all of you.

Take it outside. This can be either figuratively or literally.  If you don't want to go outside, because I know it's cold with winter looming, find a photograph and just look at it for five or ten minutes. Take in the way the light filters through leaves and branches, or how the breeze seems to have lifted the leaves even though you can't feel it. How does the grass sway. Is there a path? How does it look? Mountains, are they jagged and covered in snow? Or are they smooth and dusty? Once you find a landscape that pulls to you, start writing, write anything, anywhere, but make sure you have a character. Use the land to characterize said character.  How does your character feel in the landscape, how does he/she walk or move within the land. What do they look like within the land? Does the land compliment them or distress them?

If you can, because I'm not a stickler for literary fiction, bring mythological or magical elements in. How does the land itself accept this character. Are there challenges keeping the character out, or is it trying to bring her/him in? The point is, use the land in a way you might not usually. Make the land your primary focus in this scene. Let the land build your character rather than the other way around.

Most importantly though, have fun with it!

I am going to do this prompt later today, and in the near future I shall share my results.

Some keywords to get you started: Towering, light, rainbow, silhouette, wispy, shadow, darkness, frail, firm, stagnant, glistening.

Helpful hints: If you can, use metaphor to build your landscape, or even personification. Make the land a character in itself. 

~ Beth

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I want to do this and probably will tonight. Do you want to know the first thing that came to mind when I read this prompt? Quest For Camelot XD - the blind guy and how he interacts with the land and the forest. I really like that his characterization extends to the natural world around him.