Setting the Scene (Week of 6 February 2012)

The Cafe isn’t always well-lit and open. Sometimes it’s dark and foreboding when you’re in here, especially at closing or before we unlock the doors and get everyone in here writing. While the furniture is mostly new, some of it was scavenged or given to us, which allows the Cafe itself to have a patina of age when you walk in. The place is clean (we do a pretty good job sweeping up at the end of the day) and the coffee’s always fresh, but when the place is hopping there’s nothing quite like being in here. The pictures on the walls by our favorite artists, the music in our earbuds to inspire us and the general tenor of the place all contribute to how we do our jobs as writers.

Setting a scene, using descriptions and telling the readers what we see in our heads is perhaps a greater challenge than just writing a story itself. This is the personal part of storytelling, it seems. Each of us approaches descriptions differently and with good reason: we don’t necessarily share one brain. We’ve all read the theories of ‘get in as late as possible and get out as fast as you can’ and ‘start on the action’ that are common bits of advice for writing scenes and stories. This week the Cafe bloggers share how they do it.

Pull up a chair. The dark roast is especially good this week: smokey and light-bodied but intense. There’s some half and half if you need it.

Jason Arnett is a storyteller living in Kansas and writing in the plains of the fantastic. Some of his work can be found at www.jasonarnett.com

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