Flashlight in one hand, pistol in the other, Mary slipped into her father’s study. The scent of dried blood mixed with the more familiar smells of dust, cigars, and black coffee. Claw marks the width of her arm indented his cherry wood desk. Rain leaked from the window onto her father’s maroon carpet, and the light of the candle lamp on his desk threatened to vanish with every breath she took.
The gorgon was here. Recently.
I am by no means a master of writing vivid settings yet. But judging by the impromptu description I wrote up top, I’m well on my way to mastering it if I put my mind to it and if I’m sure to have Rayne Hall at my side.
Writing Vivid Settings by Rayne Hall is one of many books in her Writer’s Craft series that any writer should pick up. In thirteen concise and instructional chapters, she’ll offer many techniques to help your settings become vivid and active rather than static backdrops. From incorporating sensory description on the phrase level to giving your setting more oomph in actions scenes, Rayne Hall will show you how to it all. She’ll also tell you how to limit your setting descriptors so that you won’t overload your reader and bore them away from reading. Rayne Hall also provides you with examples form her own works that shows she can talk the talk and walk the walk.
But even then, I bet some of you are probably thinking, “Why this book? Why not some of the other books on setting out there?”
Fair point, but allow me to counter it.
In addition to Writing Vivid Settings, I’ve also read (and reviewed) Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan and The Writing Active Setting Series by Mary Buckham. While Word Painting takes you on a journey to enhance your physical senses and The Writing Active Setting Series helps you weave setting into your story on the macro level, Writing Vivid Settings will help you achieve vivid setting on the sentence, syntactical and micro level, which is just as important in the writing process. The distinctions I’m making between these books, however, are not grounds to purchase only one of them. Even Rayne Hall, at the end of Writing Vivid Settings, actually recommends both as further reader for setting study. If you are a writer that is serious about the craft, you should purchase all three of them. Each of them is strong on its own as well as together.
That said, if you’ve got a first draft in need of some revisions to make your setting pop, Writing Vivid Settings can help you. If you need some assignments to beef up your setting description repertoire, Writing Vivid Settings can help you. If you want to use more relevant similes for setting description, Writing Vivid Settings can help you.
Which is why Rayne Hall is becoming one of my favorite authors for writing reference. I hope she becomes one of your favorite authors for reference, too.