Can I have my settings back?

When I can make myself laugh on a read through six months later, I know I’ve done something right. Either that or my sense of humor hasn’t developed any. There are moments in my writing that I’m quite proud of, moments where I go “I wrote that? That was me? Damn I’m good.” Sadly those moments aren’t quite as frequent as I would like, but they happen, and that is what is important. They’re often enough to satiate my ego.

My first writing instructor complimented me on my settings and then suggested I work on improving my dialogue. It was both the best and worst advice I could have received, because I went on and took a play-writing class. If you’re not familiar with what happens in a play script, it’s a lot of dialogue, a few directional cues, and the briefest amount of setting instructions possible. I spent an entire semester learning how to write dialogue. By the time I came out of it, I was actually pretty good at it, or at least, that’s what I tell myself.

But now I can’t write setting to save my life.

But that’s okay, because dialogue is fun to write. The witty repartee between two characters, the veiled insults, the not-so-veiled insults, things happen, information is learned, and I don’t have to try and describe what a tree looks like.

As proud as I am of my dialogue, doing that well—and by well I mean it makes me grin when I read it—doesn’t bring about a sense of reward. I know I can write dialogue. It’s when I go back and read over the rest of the story and find some scene where nobody is talking that moves me, a scene that I actually feel was well written. That’s when I can feel proud of what I’ve done. Because I wrote something challenging—and wrote it well.

I just wish it happened more often.

Thanks for the dialogue, professor, but can I have my settings back?

At the age of six, Eliza was certain of two things. The first was that she had stories to tell. The second was that she had no talent for illustrating them herself. Talent or no, she still wrote and illustrated her first book, one that should be located and locked away if only to prevent her parents from embarrassing her terribly by showing it off alongside baby pictures. Now she spends her days writing stories that she isn't embarrassed to show off after a little bit of polishing.

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