November 15 Activity: Setting as a character in your memoir
The setting of your memoir will tell us a lot about you and the people who were in your life. Many fiction writers give setting the prime role of character in their novels. As a memoir writer, you can also think of setting as a character in your memoir.
Today you will work at creating feeling in your description of your setting.
1. Take the setting that you wrote about yesterday (day 14) and rewrite it in the following ways (were talking exercise here not actual life):
- Make the setting a happy one where you were enjoying your life: you might use words like bright, well-tended, Mom’s great meals.
- Make it a stressful setting where many elements worked against your happiness: small, confined rooms; noisy street.
- And in different setting where you were neither happy nor unhappy. The setting was merely where you were in your life happened elsewhere. You might use words like: the rooms were fine if not interesting; the house was neither large not small.
This is not an easy exercise, but it will show you how the same information can be described very differently. In this way, you will realize how you write about setting will be a key element in your memoir. Your use of words will set a tone. The setting will become a character in your memoir.
We have helped many people whose lives demanded to be recorded but who themselves were not writers to create interesting and well-written memoirs.
We listen to you speak your story. We ask you a multitude of questions. Then we get to work writing. We come back to you with text and you make lots of corrective comments and we ask you a whole lot of new questions. Then, we go back to writing again.
Over time, your story develops into a memoir—one that you have shaped at every stage of the writing process.
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